FanDuel and Entercom Communications have reached an agreement on a six-year deal in which the sports betting giant will be the official sportsbook partner of the largest sports radio ownership group in the United States.
According to a joint press release, Entercom listerners will have “unique access to FanDuel odds, insight, and promotion via Entercom on-air stations and personalities.” The two groups will also combine to produce content with an eye on creating “all-new formats” for sports radio.
Entercom owns and operates 39 radio stations across the United States, including three of the top four markets in the country with WFAN 101.9FM/660 AM in New York, 670 The Score in Chicago (WSCR) and Sports Radio 94WIP in Philadelphia (WIP-FM). Sports betting is legal in both Illinois and Pennsylvania, while WFAN broadcasts in the New York City metropolitan area and reaches into New Jersey, which is a sports betting powerhouse.
FanDuel continues busy month of widening reach
It is the second long-term agreement with a media partner this month for FanDuel, which signed a multiyear deal with Turner Sports on Oct. 15 to become the official exclusive sportsbook partner for NBA programming across its properties, most notably the NBA on TNT and verticals for Bleacher Report. FanDuel had previously entered the sports media landscape in September 2019 with an exclusive deal with Pat McAfee and then expanded that with a multiyear agreement with the former Indianapolis Colts punter in July for sports betting content on his radio show, podcasts, and social media.
“Entercom has revolutionized the audio and entertainment industries and we’re beyond excited to be their preferred partner in the sports betting and fantasy categories, said Matthew King, chief executive officer, FanDuel. “In the two years we have been doing business with Entercom, it is abundantly clear to us that their authentic connection to sports fans is one of the best ways for us to engage FanDuel customers. We will work together to offer sports fans access to information wherever, whenever, and however they consume content, providing them with the tools to learn and win.”
It also gives FanDuel a countermeasure of sorts against eternal rival DraftKings, which also entered a deal with Turner Sports focusing on daily fantasy sports. DraftKings took a similar tack last month when it joined Caesars in a “co-exclusive” agreement with ESPN, with the latter making William Hill the official odds provider of the Disney-owned sports network.
Entercom stock price briefly surges on deal
Entercom has a reach of an estimated 30 million listeners monthly and is the flagship home of 41 professional sports teams — most notably the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys — and more than 50 Division I collegiate programs.
“We believe this is the largest advertising commitment ever made within the radio industry. We are focused on delivering the best sports betting experience for our audiences in markets where legalized sports betting will be pervasive,” said David Field, president and chief executive officer, Entercom. “The marketplace is growing exponentially and FanDuel is an ideal partner to take full advantage of the influence and reach of Entercom’s robust sports platforms to deliver an even better, audio sports experience to our listeners.”
The announcement of the deal was notable in the New York City market as WFAN brought back host Craig Carton Thursday to announce his return as part of an afternoon drive-time show with Evan Roberts starting Nov. 9. Carton, who was part of WFAN’s successful morning show with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, was convicted of wire and securities fraud in April 2019 as part of a $7 million ticketing scam he used to help pay off gambling debts. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison before being released in June for both good behavior and entering a cognitive behavioral program.
In an interview with the New York Post, Carton — who owes $4.8 million in restitution — said he will not be handling the gambling promotions on-air: “I’m not going to be talking or promoting gambling, other than the promoting of responsible gambling and using the platform to make people aware that there is potentially a dark side to it as well.”
Shortly after the deal was announced Thursday, Entercom’s shares reached a high of $2.29 per share in midday trading — nearing its six-month high of $2.45 established in June — before closing at $1.60.