Australian online betting operator CrownBet and News Corp Australia’s Fox Sports are reportedly negotiating a partnership with Seven West Media in hopes of bringing daily fantasy sports to free-to-air audiences.
Back in March, CrownBet inked a deal with Fox Sports to launch a daily fantasy sports joint venture Draftstars in time for the March 24 kickoff of the new Australian Football League season. Now, The Australian reported that the joint venture is “in advanced discussions” to sign on Seven West Media as an equity partner for Draftstars.
The three parties are aiming to sign a partnership before the start of the AFL finals series, according to the news outlet.
Fox Sports has the subscription TV rights to the AFL and the National Rugby League, while Seven West Media holds the free-to-air AFL broadcast rights, according to the report. A deal with Seven West Media will potentially see Draftstars marketed “to huge free-to-air audiences during the finals series,” while Fox Sports will market and cross-promote the product with its AFL and NRL coverage. CrownBet, which holds the gambling license, is the official betting partner of the AFL.
Crownbet’s, which is 67 percent owned by James Packer’s Crown Resorts, rumored interest in the fantasy sports sector initially surfaced in media reports last December that detailed the Aussie betting and media sectors’ growing awareness of fantasy opportunities. February brought word of a new fantasy partnership between Aussie betting operator TopBetta and Fairfax Media, whose publications include the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review.
Australia is one of the most active sports betting markets in the world and thus could serve as an acid test of daily fantasy sports’ ability to capture a significant following when other betting options are widespread. To date, DFS has had its biggest success in the United States, where single-game real-money sports betting is available only in Nevada.