Underdog Fantasy, Warner Bros. Could Be Eyeing Sports Betting Entries

Posted on: October 26, 2023, 04:40h. 

Last updated on: October 27, 2023, 11:39h.

With Bet365 gaining share in select states, Fanatics on the scene, and Penn Entertainment’s ESPN Bet readying a November debut, the question on the minds of some sports betting industry observers is, “Who’s next?”

An advertisement for “The NBA on TNT.” TNT owner Warner Brothers Discovery could enter the sports betting space. (Image: TNT)

As in, what companies will be next to tempt fate and enter the hyper-competitive U.S. sports wagering arena — one currently dominated by FanDuel and DraftKings. The rumor mill suggests the next big names to try their hands at sports betting could be Underdog Fantasy and Warner Brothers Discovery. The Off Shore Gaming Association (OSGA) recently floated the notion that either or both companies could be mulling an expansion into sports betting.

New York-based Warner Brothers Discovery is a massive media conglomerate, with brands including Animal Planet, Cinemax, HBO, TBS and TNT. The latter two could be leveraged should the media giant enter the regulated sports betting space.

TBS has over 90 million subscribed households and are one of the biggest broadcasters of live sports, along with ESPN. They focus on MLB, NHL, NBA and the NCAA, along with wrestling,” noted OSGA. “They are also the hosting network for all Atlanta-based teams.”

“The NBA on TNT,” which is in its 35th season, could be an ideal platform through which Warner Brothers Discovery could make a sports betting play, particularly when considering the popularity of the NBA among bettors.

Warner Bros. Sports Betting Not Imminent

Warner Brothers Discovery also controls some Spanish-language broadcasting entities that broadcast baseball, basketball, and soccer. That focus on a rapidly growing demographic could bolster the media company’s sports wagering footprint, assuming one is established.

Rumors indicate the company isn’t likely to enter the regulated sports wagering space anytime soon, and that it could be waiting for Georgia to approve sports betting. Atlanta is the home to TBS and TNT, and that’s where “The NBA on TNT” broadcasts from.

Warner Brothers Discovery “may partner with another Atlanta-based company, such as Coca-Cola, to make a huge splash into the industry that would immediately vault them to the top,” added OSGA.

Citing unidentified sources, the report indicated BetTBS could come to life in 2025 and 2026.

Underdog Has Different Motivations

As for Underdog Fantasy, that privately held company likely has different motivations for mulling a foray into sports wagering, and it could happen sooner than Warner Brothers Discovery. Underdog may have no choice but to move into regulated sports betting sooner than later.

The company started as a daily fantasy sports (DFS) alternative to DraftKings and FanDuel, but has recently come under fire for offering games that regulators believe are too akin to traditional sports betting. As such, Underdog and rivals are losing market access in some key states, such as Michigan and New York, among others.

Underdog reportedly believes it can leverage its current research staff as sports betting traders, potentially minimizing costs, and the operator would likely avoid high tax states, such as New York, if it decides to become a sportsbook operator.

“Instead focusing on states where Underdog Fantasy is very well-known and has a large client base, such as New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Tennessee as starters. In that regard, they wouldn’t be looking for the volume that DraftKings and FanDuel are, and thus wouldn’t need to spend as much on advertising,” concluded the OSGA.