Fox Optimistic on Reviving FOX Bet, Has Held Talks with Gaming Companies

Posted on: August 9, 2023, 04:38h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2023, 12:31h.

Just days after the plug was pulled on FOX Bet, Fox Corp. (NASDAQ: FOXA) CEO Lachlan Murdoch sounded an optimistic tone regarding the company’s future sports wagering prospects, noting the media giant has already had some discussions with unidentified gaming operators.

Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch
Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch. He’s optimistic FOX Bet can be revived in the U.S. (Image: Getty Images)

On Fox’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings conference call Tuesday, Murdoch discussed FOX Bet’s recent demise and possibilities for reviving the business. He noted that while the media conglomerate didn’t allocate capital to the brand, it derived benefit from it that could be used in the future.

I can’t stress more that we are extremely pleased with the financial outcome and the value creation through FOX Bet that we have generated for all of our shareholders,” Murdoch said in response to a question from UBS analyst John Hodulik.

The Fox chief executive officer added that FOX Bet was entirely funded by Flutter Entertainment (OTC: PDYPY), and that while the media company didn’t push capital into the struggling betting unit, it “derived significant value from it.”

On July 31, Flutter, as was its right, scrapped the FOX Bet business. But Fox maintains control of that brand.

FOX Bet Super Six Could Be Pivotal

Murdoch added that the death of FOX Bet in its old form was anticipated. In hindsight, it was likely to anyone paying close attention to the sports wagering industry. For years, Flutter made no secret of prioritizing FanDuel while letting FOX Bet languish.

That paid off for the Irish company, because not only is FanDuel the largest online sportsbook operator in the U.S., it’s profitable. On the other hand, Fox has some avenues for resuscitating FOX Bet, including leveraging the currently halted FOX Bet Super Six free-to-play game. That mobile app offered contests tied to college sports, NASCAR, the NFL, and more, and served as a database driver for FOX Bet.

“One of the remaining elements of value coming out of FOX Bet is the brand of FOX Bet Super 6, which is the most successful free-to-play wagering business in the United States, and offers a tremendous funnel for wagering sites going forward,” added Murdoch. “And this is a brand and an operation that we continue — we will continue to operate.”

Murdoch didn’t give a time line as to when FOX Bet Super Six will be revived. But it’s worth noting its NFL picks contest was one of the most popular offerings in the free-to-play genre, indicating the company might not want to let the 2023 season pass without reviving the app.

Media/Sports Betting Landscape Changing

Murdoch’s comments regarding how Fox can get back into the U.S. sports wagering industry were made just hours before Penn Entertainment (NASDAQ: PENN) announced a multibillion deal with Fox rival ESPN that could alter the landscape of betting/media partnerships.

While not the size of ESPN, Fox has a sports broadcasting portfolio that could lure significant capital in a deal with a betting company. Fox holds coveted NFL rights, is one of the primary broadcasters of college football, and broadcasts parts of the Major League Baseball and NASCAR seasons.

It remains to be seen if that’s enough to bring FOX Bet back to life. But Murdoch is constructive on doing just that.

“So we feel our existing sort of performance in FOX Bet has been terrific. We’ve built a tremendous amount of value and we’re really positioned well to continue to benefit from the emergence of sports wagering in the United States,” he said on the call.