DraftKings Expands Reach with VSiN Buy

DraftKings has gone beyond partnerships with sports leagues and teams to step into the broadcasting business with its purchase of VSiN. The big buy gives DraftKings a growing network devoted to sports betting.

DraftKings Expands Reach with VSiN Buy

In the latest partnership by a major U.S. sports betting company, DraftKings has purchased Vegas Sports Information Network, known as VSiN, which broadcasts live from the South Point and the

Circa casinos in Las Vegas with sports betting content, news, analysis and data.

Terms were not available, according to the Associated Press.

“VSiN creates authentic and credible content that resonates with sports bettors at every level, whether they’re experienced or new to sports betting,” said Jason Robins, co-founder, CEO and board chairman of Boston-based DraftKings, in a news release. “VSiN has an established infrastructure that DraftKings can immediately help expand.”

And vice versa. The idea was first planted at a gaming tradeshow two years ago, when VSiN CEO Brian Musburger bounced the idea around with Robins, according to CDC Gaming Reports. At that point, both VSiN and DraftKings were still in their relative infancy when it came to sports betting alliances.

“Jason and I were on a panel together,” Musburger said. “We just sat down afterward and talked.”

VSiN develops, produces, and distributes as many as 18 hours of live content daily, as well as 24/7 streaming services. Its roster of talent features legendary sportscaster Brent Musburger and former NFL executive Michael Lombardi, who’s worked for the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Raiders. From 2014 to 2016, Lombardi was an assistant to the coaching staff of the New England Patriots. He’s also worked for numerous media outlets, including Sports Illustrated.

DraftKings expects to keep the existing work force, including VSiN CEO Brian Musburger—Brent’s nephew—who will manage day-to-day operations with his team.

VSiN’s content can be found on Comcast Xfinity, Sling TV, fuboTV, Rogers’ Sportsnet, MSG Networks, NESN, AT&T Pittsburgh, Marquee Sports Network, iHeartRadio and TuneIn, as well as podcasts and betcasts.

“We created VSiN as a destination for sports bettors to find the most credible content to help inform their wagering decisions,” Brian Musburger said of the deal. “This new ownership is going allow us to achieve some of our goals. Editorially, there will be no change. Our strength is our content.”

In a note to investors, Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said, “Strategically, the acquisition of VSiN should enhance DraftKings’ ability to produce content and grow its audience reach, presumably aiding in customer acquisition and further broadening brand awareness.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, DraftKings stock was up 1 percent on the news, after losing 8.5 percent in value on news that online sports betting in New York for 2021 wasn’t a sure thing.

“We are incrementally positive on the acquisition as we believe it positions DraftKings to further build out its content capabilities to a betting centric content consumer, make a broader push into streaming, deepen their presence in Las Vegas and create unique betting products integrated with VSiN content and personalities similar to Barstool Sportsbooks,” said a note from market research analyst Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer has DraftKings as an “outperform” with a price target of $80, up nearly 40 percent from where the stock was in late March.

In related news, on March 29 DraftKings announced that it’s added WWE as its latest official gaming partner, subject to regulatory approvals. The collaboration centers on DraftKings’ free-to-play pools product and will launch at WWE’s two-night WrestleMania on April 10 and 11.

“This relationship helps fuel the engagement and drama of WWE’s signature matchups and storylines as audiences enjoy the second-screen experiences our products provide,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings.

DraftKings will receive an exclusive license to media assets and in-game branding for WWE pay-per-view events. Both WWE fans and DraftKings customers can participate in a number pools contests and products and experience digital promotion and program integration.

“This collaboration marks a deepening engagement with our fans and will provide DraftKings the opportunity to leverage the appeal and reach of the WWE brand,” Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer for WWE.

Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, recently was the guest of Tim Skubick on his weekly PBS show, “Off the Record,” on WLNS in Lansing, Michigan. Skubick asked Avello, “On a scale of one to 10, Avello said, the Michigan sports betting market is “a nine. Michigan has been a big state for us.”