Two words, one period, zero room for debate.
And if the dictatorial cavemen who’ve ruled college football prefer to keep intimidating and abusing players instead of rewarding them, maybe they should pause amid the introspective zen of 2020 and ask, “Exactly why am I making millions of dollars to coach 20-year-olds on a 100-by-53-yard field? How did I get here?’’
In extreme times when pivoting is the mission and common sense is the lantern, the mood is right for a pandemic-year trial of compensating players with salaries. If only the powers-that-be had pondered that earlier, before players began opting out — and threatening to walk out — amid coronavirus fears and bullying cultures in a multi-billion-dollar sport that doesn’t pay them wages. The establishment feels the roil of activism and is responding in full pushback mode, engaging players in power tug-of-wars as the likes of Nick Rolovich and Gary Patterson join the Insufferable Tyrants Club. We even have creepy, meat-on-the-hoof allegations at Colorado State, where players say they were told to ignore virus protocols and not report possible symptoms while warned of reduced playing time if they test positive.
Exploitation? Extortion? Attempted murder?
The college ecosystem always has treated players as unpaid labor. But for once, athletes have the leverage to not only fight back but shut down a season via mass defections. Revolution is in the air like never before, and if the sport wants to pocket its usual billions this season — assuming there is one — the system finally will find a way of paying players and honoring their glaring concerns about COVID-19, social injustice and coaching bullies.
The establishment isn’t asking too much from the help, only to engage in close-contact violence amid the ongoing virus ravages so Brinks-loads of money — pause for Mike Gundy reference — can be “run through’’ states, local economies, universities, TV networks and the nine bedrooms and 11.5 bathrooms of head coaches’ mansions. Every hour of every day for months, thousands of young men would be directly exposed to the virus throughout the season, at home and in road travel fraught with hotspots. This time, contrary to a past that has resisted pay for play, the athletes should be rewarded handsomely for absorbing massive, potentially life-altering health risks. The question isn’t whether virus outbreaks are inevitable in college cultures, but how many are waiting to explode like wildfires during games and practices and on campuses. LSU, Clemson, Michigan State, Rutgers — I’ve already lost track of the infection clusters that have blitzed programs and/or halted workouts — and this is the right time, I suppose, to mention the outbreak across USC’s fraternity row.
You know my sentiment about starting a college football season now. When it’s hard enough fathoming the resumption of sports — inside Bubbles or in the unprotected outdoors, amid America’s ever-rising death toll and economic ruin — no one in good conscience should send unpaid lads into a 24/7 continuum of COVID. It’s no stretch to compare it with shipping young people off to war. We pray that the University of Connecticut is the clear-thinking forerunner here, the first of many — or preferably, all — Football Bowl Subdivision teams to cancel a season because of the pandemic.
“The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk,” said David Benedict, the school’s athletic director. “The necessary measures needed to mitigate risk of football student-athletes contracting the coronavirus are not conducive to delivering an optimal experience for our team.”
The decision was supported by UConn players, who said in a statement released through the university: “We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic, but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome. … Not enough is known about the potential long term effects of contracting (the virus).’’
Thank you. And thank you to Division II and Division III programs that canceled fall sports championships for the same reason. But UConn, while it plays on the sport’s highest level, is not a Power Five program. In fact, it opted out because those elite conferences have canceled games against smaller fries such as UConn, which won’t receive lucrative accompanying checks. Keep your eye on one big number as the Power Five continues to power through with daily updates on reduced, wishful-thinking schedules: $4 billion. That’s the fortune at stake this season … and why smart people, from university presidents to broadcast executives, continue to be stubborn and dumb about pushing on, preferring to believe President Trump when he says the virus “will go away like things go away.’’
Such as Trump, perhaps, come early November.
It’s possible the strongest and ablest would carry on independently in limited conference blocs, with decisions to play determined by each school. Said NCAA president Mark Emmert to the Associated Press: “You have to look at the huge variability around the country. When you look at what are the facts on the ground in Syracuse, N.Y., versus Miami, Fla., they’re very, very different. And those schools are going to have to operate consistent with local municipal policies, state policies, federal policies, and then also whatever they decide collectively in the conference. So it really isn’t the time where you can say we’ll have one rule to govern all of football.’’
At least Major League Baseball players are paid as they impossibly try to avoid the evil droplets. The NBA, NHL and other leagues functioning well inside restrictive environments are protecting athletes AND paying them. NFL players would be playing in the same three-hour-plus Petri dish, but they’re armed with a collective bargaining agreement and a union. Yes, I realize they’re all professionals. And I realize the college kids do receive full scholarships, stipends, facilities, housing, eventual licensing benefits and built-in advantages of influential alumni/boosters who live vicariously through them and sometimes slip them, um, you know, sweet nothings.
Nonetheless, 2020 is the boiling point, especially when a successful coach such as Patterson — celebrated for reviving football excellence at Texas Christian — uses the n-word in practice to prove a point about not using the n-word. In this century, there is no room for despots who traffic in cruel, oppressive behavior when the players aren’t even paid. Actually, the coaches should be begging them at this point. Athletic departments will be devastated without football. ESPN, which literally owns and operates the sport, will lose more than $1 billion in advertising and rights payments. College towns, such as the Dabo-dependent village of Clemson, S.C., will be financially and spiritually gutted without games and Trevor Lawrence’s long locks. Paul Finebaum will have no one to piss off.
None of this is going to happen without the players. They know it, too, aware they’re holding unprecedented leverage in an ancient squabble. And that it makes no medical sense for studs to play in a pandemic — Caleb Farley and Rashod Bateman have opted out, with Lawrence and Justin Fields possibly to follow — when NFL riches await. The driving forces of American life — the virus and social justice activism — are empowering players to make demands in a rights movement organized in the Pac-12 conference and still capable, as the season twists in limbo, of raging to other leagues. Athletes are tired of being viewed as servants in a multi-billion-dollar racket. And they’ll no longer tolerate even hints of racism in an industry dominated mostly by wealthy white men, many of whom lord over programs, campuses and entire regions.
As Black Lives Matter dominates sports culture, college football has its own related backlash. The Pac-12 unity group is threatening to boycott the season if 17 demands aren’t satisfied, almost all involving the virus, racial inequality and a redistribution of football revenues. “We believe a football season under these conditions would be reckless and put us at needless risk,” the group, numbering in the hundreds, said in a statement published by the Players’ Tribune. “Every day that we don’t have discussions puts players at additional risk of COVID.”
They’re playing the coronavirus card, as they should, to seek fair market value. The initial ask is outrageous — “distribute 50% of total conference revenue evenly among athletes’’ — but if this is a negotiation that should have started decades ago, why not start high? The question is how many players would risk their football future, in college and possibly the NFL, to take a hardline labor stance. We’ve seen failed attempts to unionize college athletes, some involving ringleader and former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, who is behind the current uprising. But 2020 is different.
COVID-19 makes it different.
Black Lives Matter makes it different.
Someone please inform Rolovich, the new coach at Washington State. He initially was empathetic to the virus concerns of an up-and-coming wide receiver and leader, Kassidy Woods, who called to say he was opting out because of an underlying sickle cell condition. But Rolovich chose to dig, inquiring if Woods was part of the Pac-12 group.
“Yes, sir,’’ he said, in a tape presumably released publicly by Woods.
When the moment called for a human being to guide a college student, Rolovich turned cold and corporate. He told Woods to empty out his locker and said his scholarship wouldn’t be honored beyond this season. Oh, and Woods should spread the word that other players who opt out as part of the Pac-12 group would face similar repercussions. In essence, Rolovich was trying to bust a union before he coached his first game.
Said the coach, regrettably: “OK so that’s going to be, that’s gonna be an issue if you align with them as far as future stuff, ‘cause the COVID stuff is one thing. But, um, joining this group is gonna put you on a … that’s obviously, you know, you get to keep your scholarship this year, but it’s gonna be different. You know, if you, if you say, `I’m opting out ‘cause of COVID and health and safety,’ I’m good. But this group is gonna change, uh, I guess, how things go in the future for everybody, at least at our school. Um, so just think about that is, if it’s about getting paid and not … about racial justice and that stuff. Then it’s probably, it’s there’s two sides, there’s two sides here. I’m good with the Sickle Cell and the COVID, and but this, this group is gonna be at a different level as far as how we’re kind of going to move forward in the future.’’
Was he manipulating a narrative? Issuing a passive-aggressive threat? Actually, both.
Patterson faced a boycott of several players after he mindlessly used a racial slur in a failed teaching moment. In a tweet, freshman linebacker Dylan Jordan explained that Patterson asked him to stop using the n-word, then repeated the slur. Before that, Patterson had rebuked Jordan during practice, according to Jordan, calling him “a f——— brat’’ and threatening to “send you back to Pitt,’’ referring to the player’s hometown of Pittsburg, Kan. After Patterson told players that he wasn’t addressing Jordan directly with the n-word, Jordan tweeted, “The behavior is not okay now or ever and there needs to be repercussions to these actions.’’
Two days later, Patterson was apologizing on Twitter: “I met with our Seniors and Leadership Council last night about how we move forward as a team, together. We are committed as individuals and as a program to fighting racial injustice of any kind. I apologize for the use of a word that, in any context, is unacceptable. I have always encouraged our players to do better and be better and I must live by the same standards.”
College football is a religion. Thus, any uprising by players is viewed as blasphemy by traditionalists, many living in states represented by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (“Alabama, Arkansas …’’). Know what? Deal with it, people. This is a country that can pay someone $600 a week not to work. This is a country where an assistant college football coach, Alabama’s Steve Sarkisian, just got a raise to $2.5 million a year.
You mean you can’t find a decent piece of a $4 billion pie for athletes braving a monster contagion … and maybe a demonic coach?
If not, you deserve a broken season. And broke coffers.
Kevin Burkhardt Is Broadcasting’s Most Unlikely Success Story
“To go from a car lot to the main NFL on FOX booth in less than 20 years is about as likely as one quarterback leading his team to seven Super Bowl wins.”
There is always something appealing about the 50-75% off rack in a clothing store. It is the hope against hope I can find a shirt in my size that doesn’t look like a 1980’s Bill Cosby sweater and a velour tracksuit had a baby. That is not where FOX went shopping for Tom Brady.
Nope, FOX paid top dollar for their newest NFL analyst. Though the actual number first reported by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post (ten years, $375 million) hasn’t been confirmed by FOX, it is safe to say Brady will be the highest paid sports analyst in television history. “Will be” because he has that pesky little roadblock of finishing the greatest NFL career we’ve ever seen first.
I’m glad Brady could finally catch a break, looks like things are turning around for the poor guy.
The reason Brady is even being hired is that FOX is in the relatively unique position of having an entire booth opening for their top NFL game telecast with the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ABC/ESPN. The closest thing we’ve seen to this situation was the 2006 move from ABC to NBC of Al Michaels and John Madden. Of course, ABC was moving Monday Night Football to ESPN at that time and the break felt a little more natural.
As another side note, that was the Al Michaels/Oswald the Lucky Rabbit trade. Yes, one of the greatest play-by-play voices in television history was traded from ABC to NBC for some Ryder Cup rights, an Olympic highlights agreement and the rights to a cartoon rabbit. Oswald, of course, was the forerunner to Mickey Mouse. That must be the cartoon equivalent of what it was like being the opener for The Rolling Stones. The house lights are up, the single guys are hitting on the single ladies and everyone is coming back from the concession stands ready for Oswald to shut up so Mickey can take the stage.
What this has created for FOX is the search for the play-by-play partner for Brady, the role 46-year-old Kevin Burkhardt has earned. You’ll notice I said “earned” instead of “was given”. No, Burkhardt has absolutely worked his way to the top of the FOX ladder, starting by covering local high school football in New Jersey. In fact, my favorite part of this story is Burkhardt, not Brady.
Burkhardt is as good an example of perseverance paying off as you will find in sports broadcasting. As Richard Deitsch once profiled for Sports Illustrated, just 15 years ago, seemingly having given up on hitting it big, Burkhardt was selling cars for Pine Belt Chevrolet in New Jersey. His silky smooth voice has been one of the reasons Burkhardt has climbed the FOX ladder but can you imagine him describing what is under the hood of a 2005 Chevy Suburban? Or him saying, “We have cars for every price range starting as low as $10,000. From ten to 15 to 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50…”
To go from a car lot to the main NFL on FOX booth in less than 20 years is about as likely as one quarterback leading his team to seven Super Bowl wins. Maybe that is why this pair will work. Brady, himself, was fairly close to using that business degree from Michigan. If not for a fortuitous draft pick and a Drew Bledsoe injury, the car salesman-sixth round pick broadcast team may have never happened.
Burkhardt’s climb is a lesson for young people looking to break into the sports broadcasting field. I’d be writing this from my summer home in Santorini, Greece if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to get on the air in sports radio or TV. My answer is the same every time: go to your local radio or TV station that carries high school sports and tell them you’ll volunteer to be part of the production. Trust me on this, local stations make good revenue on high school sports and are looking to produce it as cheaply as possible.
I did that when I was in college at Jacksonville State University and worked my first football season, 14 weeks, for a free game of bowling and a free meal for two at a local bar-b-que joint. I can’t calculate now how much that bowling and bar-b-que has been worth to me since. I was able to get on the air, learn the craft and make all my early mistakes in a very forgiving environment.
The local high school broadcast teaches you how to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. You will, at some point, call a game from a booth shared with a member of the home team’s quarterback club, a man who lives for the free pizza and cookies in the Friday night press box. He’s certain the game officials are either blind or on the opposing team’s payroll and doesn’t care if your crowd mic hears him yelling it.
That’s if you are fortunate enough to have a spot in the actual press box. When I was in college, doing high school play-by-play on WHMA-FM in Anniston, Alabama, we once were told there was no room in the home team’s press box for a state playoffs semifinal game. We convinced the station’s sales team to go to the local equipment rental store and negotiate for us to use a scissor lift at the stadium. They delivered it for us and it became our perilous mobile broadcast booth for one Friday night.
The lessons learned in those years shaped my career. Those same types of lessons were also the building blocks for the man who is now slated to call the biggest games on FOX, including the Super Bowl, for the foreseeable future.
It is crazy to think a man drafted 199th is now paired in one of the biggest jobs in sports TV with a man who once tried to convince people to add on things like the Platinum Level Pine Belt Chevy Service Agreement. Those are the stories we love in sports. Now, those two will tell us those types of stories for years to come.
Patrick Beverley Announced Himself As the Next Sports Broadcasting Star
ESPN shouldn’t have let Beverley leave its studios without signing him to a contract that put him in an analyst role as soon as his playing career is over.
Last week, Fox Sports announced the signing of what the network hopes is the next sports broadcasting star in Tom Brady. More dazzling headlines came from Brady’s mega-deal with Fox, though the network disputes the 10-year, $375 million figure reported by the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand.
This week, however, viewers may have seen the emergence of another future sports broadcasting star. And unlike Fox, ESPN didn’t tell us NBA player Patrick Beverley would be an impactful commentator based on name recognition and contract size. The network showed us Beverley’s talents and capabilities with sharp, biting opinions on its Monday daytime studio shows.
Beverley, who played this season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has long been known as one of the NBA’s most provocative and irritating defenders. Coaches regularly task him with checking the opposing team’s best player.
He obstructs opponents physically with quick footwork and hands that result in steals, blocks, and rebounds of missed shots. But he also throws players off their game verbally and mentally, getting in their heads and forcing them to think about matters other than the game at hand.
That talent for highlighting weaknesses and insecurities in opponents serves him well as an analyst, which Beverley demonstrated by skewering Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during appearances on Get Up and First Take. On the Monday morning after the Suns’ shocking 123-90 Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Playoffs, the NBA guard went beyond stating that Paul had played badly.
Appearing with JJ Redick, Beverley could’ve said something obvious and safe like the Suns needed their leader to score more than 10 points with their season on the line. Paul needed to elevate the rest of the team and make them better. But given a national platform, Beverley pushed harder than that.
“They benched the wrong person,” Beverley said, referring to center Deandre Ayton playing only 17 minutes (and less than four minutes during the second half) in what Suns coach Monty Williams called an “internal” matter.
“They should’ve benched Chris… Once you see they started attacking Chris early and that might become a problem later on, you need to see how my team works without Chris in the game.”
On First Take, Beverley continued his criticism of Paul, especially his defense.
“There ain’t nobody worried about Chris Paul when you play the Phoenix Suns, nobody in the NBA,” Beverley said to Stephen A. Smith. “He’s finessed the game to a point where he gets all the petty calls, all the swipe-throughs at the end.
“We wanna be really honest? He should’ve fouled out. The last game, too. You see the replay against [Jalen] Brunson, hit him on the shoulder, hit him on the mouth, ref don’t call anything. If that’s me, ‘Oh, review it! Flagrant 1!’ If that’s him, they don’t call it.”
Beverley went on to say Paul can’t guard anyone and called him “a cone” that stays still while opponents run around him. That is scathing commentary coming from a current NBA player, criticism not typically heard on a studio show.
Yet if Beverley sounded bitter and resentful toward Paul, it’s because he is. The 10-year veteran holds an intense grudge against the Suns guard going back to when they faced each other in high school and college, which he explained to Redick earlier this year on his podcast, Old Man and the Three (via Awful Announcing).
“Chris, he does slick s**t,” Beverley told Redick. “People don’t know, that’s a little dirty motherf***er, man. Chris know that too, man. I know you don’t want to say it, but I’ll say it for you, though. I know he was your teammate.”
Paul wasn’t the only Suns player targeted by the guest analyst, however. Besides saying the entire Phoenix team was “scared,” especially of Mavericks star guard Luka Dončić, Beverley had plenty of criticism for Ayton, saying he was “OK” after Redick called him “fantastic” on First Take.
“I’m all about greatness,” Beverley said (via the Arizona Republic‘s Duane Rankin). “What would Wilt Chamberlain do? What would Shaquille O’Neal do? Get it off the rim. Y’all don’t have him in the pick-and-roll, I’m going to get it off the rim. I’m going to go get it. I’m going to go get it.”
Ayton only scored five points in Phoenix’s Game 7 loss. By “get it off the rim,” Beverley meant that there were plenty of opportunities for offensive rebounds and putbacks with all of the shots that Paul and Devin Booker missed. (The two shot a combined 7-for-22.)
ESPN shouldn’t have let Beverley leave its South Street Seaport studios in New York City without signing him to a contract that put him in an analyst role as soon as his playing career is over, as Fox did with Tom Brady. Actually, the network should make sure Beverley appears across its daytime schedule while he’s still an active player, as Turner Sports does with Draymond Green. And why not on NBA Countdown as well?
Fox drew the headlines last week for signing Tom Brady to its top NFL broadcast team without having any idea if he will be good at calling football games. He received a reportedly massive contract to prevent him from going anywhere else after he retires, and Fox is banking that casual fans will tune in out of familiarity and curiosity.
Patrick Beverley doesn’t have that kind of mainstream recognition. The NBA isn’t as nationally popular as the NFL. And studio analysts aren’t typically as well-known as game commentators. But maybe that’s more true of football. Who is the most famous basketball analyst? It’s Charles Barkley, by far.
Barkley is known for his candor and pointed opinions, which stand out in a studio setting far more than they would during a game broadcast as the action keeps moving. His jokes and jabs can be easily captured in video clips that play well on social media and have a shelf life on YouTube. ESPN has never had that kind of personality for its NBA coverage. No matter how hard it’s tried, the network has never produced anything close to Turner’s Inside the NBA.
But ESPN, whether realizing it or not, may have found its guy in Beverley. Put him on NBA Countdown and it instantly becomes a better program. Let PatBev argue with Stephen A., as he did on Monday’s First Take, and the pregame show is something that generates buzz and conversation.
Maybe Beverley, Redick, and Stephen A. would make for a good post-game show, something ESPN has never done while Inside the NBA shines in breaking down what just happened. Yes, there’s SportsCenter and Beverley could appear with Scott Van Pelt afterward. But a strong NBA postgame show could become a key part of the overall package. What if SVP played moderator as Ernie Johnson does with Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal?
Doesn’t that already sound better than what ESPN is doing now? Don’t let PatBev get away! He could be the network’s next big, must-watch star. Especially if he has grudges against more NBA players besides Chris Paul.
Mike Raffensperger Examines The Business of Sports Betting
“McAfee asked some outstanding questions, as he often does, while Raffensperger pulled back the curtain on a lot of things listeners and customers of the book were wanting to know.”
Pat McAfee has built quite a following since the end of his playing days. Last December, the former Indianapolis Colts punter signed a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel to make it the exclusive sportsbook of The Pat McAfee Show, where he seamlessly blends gambling talk with football talk every weekday.
Last Thursday, McAfee welcomed Mike Raffensperger to the show for a very insightful and informative segment. The Chief Marketing Officer for FanDuel touched on numerous topics during the interview, ranging from how likely it is that each state will eventually have online gambling, to which show member was having the worst gambling run per their account history.
While some questioned the decision to give McAfee such a high amount of money in the deal, it appears to have paid off handsomely for FanDuel. In a report put out last week by their parent company, Flutter Entertainment, the book signed up 1.3 million active new customers in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, their 1.5 million active customers on Super Bowl Sunday was the highest single-day total ever, and the 19 million bets they processed during the NCAA Tournament signaled the most popular betting period in the book’s history.
Raffensperger discussed some of the challenges that have been overcome with getting the FanDuel online service up and running in states as they slowly begin to legalize it. He stated that 15 states currently offer online services, but that getting all 50 will never happen.
He cited Utah as an example, as their state constitution clearly outlaws gambling, but stated that many states have legalized it because it is “pretty common sense legalization.” He does believe we will see many more states, including California, legalize sports wagering in the coming years, however. “You will see a continued, steady pace for the next few years, and then you will get close to a critical mass, but you will never get to 50.”
McAfee asked how much of a role COVID-19 played in the legalization of sports gambling, and Raffensperger said many states were forced to explore new ways to recoup tax revenues lost during shutdowns. “From a state, municipal budgets, they needed tax revenue,” he said, while also discussing how it went from being something done in the shadows to commonplace. “It is taking a black market that is unregulated and unsafe, into a safe and regulated environment, and creates tax revenue for the state. It’s very common sense.”
One of the more informative discussions came when McAfee asked what Raffensperger would say to listeners that complained they were unable to take advantage of odds boosts or promos that FanDuel offered through his show, yet were not available to listeners in every state. This is a common issue for radio stations throughout the country that have gambling ads in multi-state markets.
“It tends to be a little more restrictive,” Raffensperger said regarding how states tend to regulate what can be offered in the months following legalization. “Then over time, as states get comfortable, we build a good relationship with our regulating partners.” He added, “it does tend to open up a bit more over time” as they build that rapport within a state, but fully understands the frustration for customers and listeners. “At the end of the day, we gotta own what the customer experience is, and it’s FanDuel’s job to work through those regulatory challenges to make it as easy on customers as possible.”
When McAfee asked him about whether more brick-and-mortar book sites might be coming in the future at professional stadiums, Raffensperger was quick to point out it was also impacted by state regulations. Stating that 90% of all their bets were made online, he also questioned to what end a physical site would be a prudent investment.
“Beyond a physical teller and placing a bet, what is a super premium or luxury experience that would make being at a sportsbook different than what you have in your mind of a Vegas sportsbook,” he asked theoretically, “but being at a retail stadium?”
He also said that physical sites, like online apps, are tied to regulation on a state-by-state basis. “You’re either allowed to take a physical bet in a sports facility or not. Most of the time, and in most of the laws, you have to have already been a gambling establishment, either a race track or a casino, to have a physical book.”
They also touched on the McAfee same game parlay for Super Bowl LVI, which Raffensperger confirmed was tailed by more than 200,000 of his listeners. Paying out nearly eight-to-one, the wager was for Cooper Kupp to score a touchdown and to have more than 60 yards receiving, in addition to Odell Beckham Jr scoring a touchdown, and Joe Burrow rushing for 12 or more yards. Raffensperger said the parlay, which needed just nine rushing yards from Burrow to hit, may have been “the biggest parlay liability in the history of gambling,” and would have cost the book nearly $50 million had it come through.
One final interesting fact was the rise of women in the sports gambling space. A report over the weekend from Global Wireless Solutions stated that the growth rate of women signing up with sportsbooks is 63% higher than the rate of men during the same time frame. They also reported that in 2021 FanDuel added almost 1.7 million new female customers, with DraftKings adding close to 900,000 in the same span. As sportsbooks look to bring in higher market share and look to find new ways to advertise their services, women are likely the next major demographic the books fight over.
All in all, it was a terrific interview from all sides. Entertaining and enlightening, McAfee asked some outstanding questions, as he often does, while Raffensperger pulled back the curtain on a lot of things listeners and customers of the book were wanting to know. The partnership appears to be greatly beneficial for all parties involved, and hopefully the positive reception to the McAfee interview will lead to more transparency and open dialogue from sports book executives to their consumers.