News Corp Australia is only a few steps away from entering the sports betting market. The media behemoth is going to launch an online sportsbook with other companies, provided they can sort out the details.
For well over a year, the faces behind News Corp Australia, including Rupert Murdoch, have had ambitions to get into the sports betting business. They have been negotiating deals on different fronts, but only now have made significant progress.
The Wall Street Journal, which News Corp owns, reported this week that the finish line for a new online sportsbook is in sight. A consortium of companies is close to finalizing a deal and could make an announcement before the week ends.
News Corp In On Sports Betting
The new sportsbook will involve several industry insiders. Matthew Tripp, a long-time fixture in the gambling industry, is one of these.
Tripp holds a stake in BetMakers, which previously showed interest in purchasing Tabcorp, and is also behind BetEasy, a sports betting solution involving Crown Resorts. Tripp is also, in part, responsible for the success of Sportsbet. It has become one of the primary sportsbooks in Australia, despite a few bumps in the road.
Andrew Menz is likely to become the new venture’s CEO. Menz is formerly the CEO of BetEasy. When the company merged with Sportsbet, he became the combined company’s chief commercial officer. He left the position last May.
Also reportedly involved is Tekkorp, an online gambling investment fund. Tekkorp, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) out of Las Vegas, has ties to Caliente Interactive and other gaming companies around the world. The company’s chairman and CEO, Matt Davey, is also the former CEO of SG Digital and NextGen Gaming.
Sources close to the deal suggest that News Corp will only control a minority stake in the new company. BetMakers, which holds $25 million of Tripp’s investment money, will provide the technology. It won’t, however, have an equity investment in the new company.
With the new arrangement, it appears as the News Corp’s plans of partnering with Fox Bet are no longer on the table. Murdoch’s global empire includes Fox Corp, the company behind the sports betting endeavor.
Leveraging Existing Operations
In Australia, News Corp operates the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun newspapers. Rankings provided by Statista for 2021 show that they are among the top five media outlets in the country. The Daily Telegraph is ranked fourth and the Herald Sun is ranked fifth.
News Corp also controls Foxtel, a joint venture pay-TV company with Telstra. It regularly broadcasts sports activities, and News Corp holds 65% of the company.
Although the company’s media outlets are ranked among the highest in terms of popularity, this doesn’t mean they are on solid ground. Printed newspapers are falling out of favor with consumers in Australia, just like they are everywhere.
As a result, News Corp’s two print options have lost revenue. However, given the strength of sports betting, the company can offset some of the losses.
Murdoch and the others are keeping silent on the arrangement for now. When the sportsbook launches, however, it is definitely going to have an impact on Australia’s sports betting industry. News Corp has the ability to leverage all of its media sources and connections to ramp the business up quickly.
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