Howie Long has long helped Fox viewers understand the ins-and-outs of gridiron play. Now he’s going to encourage them to make a wager on what they might see.
Long is the latest Fox Sports personality to take up promotional duties for Fox Bet, the mobile sports-wagering partnership Fox Corporation operates in conjunction with Flutter Entertainment, the parent of the popular online-betting platform FanDuel. Don’t expect Long to help you make your way through the aforementioned corporate connections. But he will serve as a brand ambassador of sorts, offering sports insights to Fox Bet users.
At a time when a wide number of companies are dipping their toes into the facilitation of betting, executives see Long as an integral part of helping Fox’s sports betting offer stand apart from the rest. Many are chasing projections of billions of dollars in potential revenue as state governments gradually lift regulations that have criminalized sports betting around the country. Morgan Stanley last year projected that the U.S. sports-betting market might generate nearly $7 billion in revenue by 2025, compared with $833 million in 2019. Fox Bet sees a potential audience of 40 million to 50 million non-bettors across the U.S. who might be enticed into taking part, says Andrew Schneider, chief marketing officer of Fox Bet.
Long is just the latest in a short string of Fox Sports personalities, including Shannon Sharpe, Charissa Thompson, Colin Cowherd and Terry Bradshaw who have been tapped to help tout the benefits of betting to people who may not have otherwise tried it. The goal, says Schneider, is to portray a bet as “this super-charged ‘Boom’ moment when you place your bet, and all of a sudden, everything changes.”
Others are also testing the waters. AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Walt Disney’s ESPN have all either tested gaming technologies, struck alliances with casinos or offered games to viewers. The feisty upstart Barstool Sports in January sold a minority stake to casino operator Penn National Gaming. Fox Bet hasn’t had much time to make its mark: the service only launched last September, and executives hope the new campaign lends the company the feel of having “swagger,” says Schneider.
Fox isn’t aiming its efforts at regular gamblers. Instead, it wants to hook what it sees as a potential audience of of 40 million to 50 million non-bettors across the U.S. who might be enticed into taking part. “Sports betting is going to be a huge market, and we are sort of seeing it evolve right before our eyes, This is a big opportunity,” says Schneider, who joined the company after working on the launch of ESPN+ at Walt Disney. “But how do we position wagering in a way that’s different from all the market players?”
Fox brings Long into the mix just before the projected start of the next NFL season, one of TV’s most reliable audience-gatherers in an era when many traditional TV viewers are migrating to streaming services. In a new promo, Long and Bradshaw tell viewers that every wager on Fox Bet “makes that play mean even more.” Graphics show bettors being struck with electricity, and Long even grows in stature aided by the “power” that emanates from taking part with the Fox Bet app.
The service is currently available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, and executives expect to launch it in other markets as legislation allows. The company also operates a free-to-play “Super 6” game nationwide that can reward users with prizes as they make quick predictions about what might happen in six different games.