The guys behind the Bet the Board sports betting podcast — host Todd Fuhrman and sports bettor and analyst Payne Insider — are expanding their brand into a video show with FanDuel Sportsbook as the sponsor.
After leaving FOX Sports’ wagering show, which launched in September 2018 under the name Lock It In and later rebranded as FOX Bet Live, the Las Vegas-based Fuhrman is putting more units on his own brand that began as a podcast in 2014.
The football-focused Bet the Board pumps out industry-leading analysis (this is personal attestation, not from the corporate buzzspeak handbook) in concise NFL-focused shows on Mondays and Thursdays, plus a college football show on Wednesdays.
The forthcoming video program is styled as a pregame show for distribution around lunchtime on Fridays on YouTube, on social media, and on the podcast website. The first episode will air on Sept. 10 and will continue through the football season.
“The show will be roughly 30-35 minutes and we’re going to have a lot of high-profile industry guests,” Fuhrman told Sports Handle. “Sounds a bit cliche but it’s going to be a show by sports bettors for sports bettors, as a little bit of an onboarding vehicle for a lot of the folks that’ll get exposed to legalized sports betting for the first time this year. We’ll hit on big storylines for the NFL and college and break down some of the relevant topics in the space as well.”
On the podcast front, FanDuel Sportsbook Director John Sheeran joins weekly on Thursdays for 15-minute hits and may appear on the pregame show as well.
“John is as knowledgeable as anybody when it comes to this stuff and being able to share candid observations, in terms of what they’ve seen for action,” Fuhrman said. “It helps paint that comprehensive picture that Payne and I can help obviously contextualize. We got a ton of positive feedback from our listeners for the perspective that John gave from behind the counter.”
Show’s origins and expansion
Fuhrman cut his teeth at Caesars Sportsbook in Nevada — in the days before Eldorado Resorts took over Caesars Entertainment, then acquired and retired the William Hill name — and originally hooked up with Payne when the analyst hosted a betting show on Philadelphia airwaves.
“[Back in 2014], Payne was doing a radio show in Philly, and they wanted an oddsmaker to come on. And so I was still behind the counter at Caesars back in those days. I started providing some of that commentary that rounded it out.
“And he came out here [to Las Vegas] and we sat down and said, ‘You know what? We really don’t think there’s a good sports gambling podcast anywhere in the space,'” Fuhrman recalled. “And we didn’t have the technological wherewithal or anything along those lines. So we started recording the inaugural season on a program called GoToMeeting.
“Basically Payne’s father was the one who merged the audio files for us at his office. I mean, we probably were lucky to get a hundred-plus listeners, thereabouts. And every year we’ve tried to add a layer of complexity to it, a wrinkle here and there. Obviously, the technology improves the distribution as well. But more importantly, the content, especially as we see a proliferation of a lot of sports gambling stuff out there, created by folks that probably, a lot of them probably didn’t bet before, are just now getting into the space.”
A pro sport bettor now based in Miami, Fla., Payne also runs a sports betting information and picks website. He’s pulled back the curtain on his off-air persona only sparingly, preferring, like most legitimate bettors, to remain under a cloak of relative anonymity. But given the limited supply, ever-increasing demand, and heightening sticker price for sponsorship of betting shows, the time for expansion was now.
FanDuel seems to be the sponsor of at least a third of all existing betting programs, and DraftKings another third when it’s not spending $50 million to buy former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard’s podcast and Brent Musburger’s Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN). And then there’s a combination of BetRivers, WynnBet, BetMGM, and others claiming sponsorship of the remainder of the shows, separate from the saturation of commercials by every regular sportsbook on sports radio in legal markets.
Film study and prep
Today there’s a lot of sports gambling content existing for the sake of content. And as you may be aware, for the first time, the NFL has also opened the door for commercials during game broadcasts this season. The Shield is limiting broadcast partners to six spots per game among the league’s seven official sportsbook partners, which is not a small number out of the gate and perhaps only two to three fewer than DraftKings and FanDuel claimed in 2015 during the great DFS advertising onslaught that sparked backlash.
Of course that is of no concern now for Fuhrman and Payne, who put in the work and let the material speak for itself, with Payne providing the detailed player-by-player, position group, and coaching analysis, as well as situational considerations for the more compelling games each week.
Though Payne said he puts in about 10 to 12 hours preparation for each show, Fuhrman likes the over on the estimates.
“That’s probably just digging into the numbers and trying to distill it all down into what can be disseminated on the podcast. I mean, that doesn’t account for the countless hours spent watching games, going through tape, and all of that. My preparation is a bit different from the analytical side because I watch the games, obviously, to know the right questions to ask to lead him in the right direction,” Fuhrman said.
“But for me, I’m parking myself in the office on Saturdays and Sundays, watching as much football as possible. And usually, to get one show done, let’s say on the generous side, it’s probably eight to 10 pages of notes to get an hour’s worth of content and make sure that I can get a lot of the information in there that we need to and that we can make our listeners smarter each and every episode.”
With Fuhrman’s departure, two of the original four cast members of Lock It In have left the show over the last month. Rachel Bonnetta, the original host, announced in late August that she was leaving FOX Sports. The two holdovers, Clay Travis and “Cousin Sal” Iacono, appeared on Wednesday’s edition of FOX Bet Live.
While the timing was right for Fuhrman, it wasn’t an easy sell to get Payne away from the odds screen and game tape and in front of the cameras.
“Trust me, when we record that, he’s going to have to divulge to people how much it took, poking and prodding, to get him to put his face on camera. It’ll be the first thing I say off the top ropes.”