DraftKings is about to become an even bigger player in the sports betting content space. Announced this morning, the company has acquired VSiN.
The Vegas Sports Information Network, which launched in 2017 under the guidance of Brian Musburger, arrived on the sports betting scene by placing a heavy focus on delivering trusted sports betting information for gambling enthusiasts across different platforms. They struck a deal with the South Point Casino to serve as their home base (Circa has also become a key partner for where VSiN produces content) and established multiple partnerships to showcase their talent and content on radio, television, and digital platforms. Among those partnerships included Comcast Xfinity, Sling TV, fuboTV, Roku, Rogers’ Sportsnet, MSG Networks, Marquee Sports Network, iHeartradio, and SiriusXM. The company no longer broadcasts on SiriusXM and is planning to expand its footprint in the sports radio space in the near future.
The growing reach of VSiN combined with its strong Las Vegas presence made the company appealing to DraftKings, who will now look to use the company’s talent and content to reach sports gamblers thru its mobile sports betting app. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but DraftKings is said to have more than enough cash on hand to cover the cost. The company finished 2020 with $1.8 billion in cash on its balance sheet, and announced earlier this month that they’d be raising another $1 billion through convertible notes. The company raised its Fiscal 2021 revenue expectations in February from $900 million to $1 billion, surpassing their initial projection of $750 million to $850 million.
“This is a big jump-start for our content capabilities,” said Matt Kalish, the president of DraftKings, North America. “There’s endless demand for sports betting content these days, and we’ve started to dabble in that a little bit, through our relationship providing odds to Turner, or odds overlays in UFC broadcasts. There’s more and more demand for this type of content and VSiN really gives us that capability to get to the next level.”
Kalish said VSiN will retain its name and editorial independence as part of the agreement. The Las Vegas-based company will be asked by DraftKings to create content to help the company acquire more customers and increase media partnerships. DraftKings will also make their odds available to VSiN for use during broadcasts. VSiN will still have the ability to use odds from different sportsbooks during programming despite having a new owner.
VSiN is home for a number of familiar on-air talent including Michael Lombardi and Brent Musburger. The company’s morning show ‘Follow The Money‘ hosted by Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard has also gained traction thru television partnerships. The executive team of Brian Musburger, Stephan Shelanski, and Bill Adee is expected to remain intact. Dan Mason will give up his position as Chairman but remain involved with the company in a strategic advisory role. SeventySix Capital’s Wayne Kimmel dove deeper into VSiN’s growth and the DraftKings merger with Mason. To watch the video click here.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All Sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.
The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in its latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets.
The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.
New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend
More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.
In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.
Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.
Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.
Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time
Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:
“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”
Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.
Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.