FanDuel, The Ringer Expand Sponsorship Deal

Posted By Martin Harris on May 11, 2021

Sports bettors at FanDuel‘s online sportsbooks or fantasy sites have probably gotten used to references to The Ringer podcast media network. Similarly, those visiting The Ringer’s site and/or listening to its podcasts have likely noticed frequent references to FanDuel.

Expect those references to multiply going forward. That’s because today the companies announced the signing of a new sponsorship deal. The agreement makes FanDuel the exclusive sportsbook and fantasy sports partner of The Ringer through February 2022.

Deal expands on previous FanDuel-Ringer relationship

The announcement did not disclose precise terms of the deal other than to confirm the agreement significantly expands the partnership already present between the two companies. The press release indicates the new sponsorship agreement is “more than 3 times” FanDuel’s earlier advertising investment with the podcast media company.

FanDuel had earlier signed on as The Ringer’s exclusive sportsbook and fantasy site in July 2020.

The deal will see FanDuel sponsor all of The Ringer’s assets, including podcasts, social media, newsletters, videos, and the website. It also will involve more Ringer-themed games on FanDuel. Also coming are more “listener leagues and contests” in which The Ringer’s show hosts will participate.

“The Ringer is part of our core strategy to reach, engage and build connections with fans in the US through compelling content creators,” said David Webb, the FanDuel Group’s VP of Media & Demand Generation.

In his comments, Webb highlighted The Ringer’s editorial focus on sports fans’ experience and perspective. According to Webb, such an approach harmonizes with FanDuel’s own marketing goals and company ethos.

“FanDuel and The Ringer will collaborate to deliver on FanDuel’s promise to be absurdly fan-focused through the Ringer’s localized and endemic storytelling,” said Webb.

FanDuel adds further to catalogue of media partnerships

Founded in 2009, FanDuel was acquired by Flutter Entertainment in 2018. The Ringer was founded in 2016 by Bill Simmons following his departure from ESPN the year before. Much like Grantland, the ESPN-affiliated site begun by Simmons in 2011, The Ringer emphasizes sports content while frequently covering music, film, and other popular entertainment.

In 2020, the music streaming service Spotify acquired The Ringer for a reported $195 million. Spotify’s Angie More, Head of Global Podcast Sales, spoke enthusiastically about the expanded partnership.

“We’re ready to develop and execute more creative ideas that will elevate both brands in the eyes of sports and pop culture fans,” said More.

FanDuel’s partnership with The Ringer is one of several the company has formed with media outlets. Such agreements include deals with Turner Sports and Bleacher Report (for NBA content), SportsGrid, Minute Media, and Entercom.

FanDuel has also partnered with numerous individuals the company identifies as “sports betting talent and influencers.” These include Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Cousin Sal (Sal Iacono), World Wide Wob (Rob Perez), and JJ Zachariason.

Deal continutes trend of sports betting companies and media outlets joining forces

Such partnerships between sports betting providers and various media outlets have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Particularly since the US Supreme Court ruling lifting the federal prohibition in May 2018 opened the door to sports betting expansion in the US, sports betting providers have increasingly sought ways to advertise and promote themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

For example, Boston-based DraftKings has been similarly active pursuing such agreements.

Last week DraftKings announced it had also partnered with another media personality formerly connected to ESPN, Dan Le Batard. DraftKings partnered with Meadowlark Media, a company co-founded by Le Batard earlier this year. Le Batard ended his longtime association with ESPN at the end of 2020.

That announcement closely followed DraftKings’ mid-April acquisition of the Vegas Sports Information Network. The network, known as VSiN, provides a variety of sports betting news and analysis.

DraftKings also has deals with Turner Sports and Bleacher Report (for non-NBA content). Last year the company additionally signed Michael Jordan as a special advisor on its board of directors.

The partnership between Penn National Gaming and digital media provider Barstool Sports forged in 2020 provides another example of such synergy between those who offer sports betting and those who create sports betting-related media content. After selling a large stake to Penn National, Barstool has subsequently launched sportsbooks of its own.

According to Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, FanDuel had considered purchasing the company and passed before Penn National did.

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