Casey Brett Q&A: The MLB on FanDuel, internationalization and sports betting advertising

June 26, 2023
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Casey Brett, SVP of Business Development at MLB, spoke exclusively to Gaming America about how America's Pastime has integrated with sports betting.

What have been the effects of the partnership that MLB and FanDuel have had since 2019?

Tremendous. We really like the fact that they view betting as a great form of entertainment and have done it in a responsible way. There are great opportunities for convergence and they’re not just a sports betting company anymore. They have the FanDuel TV platform; their ringer partnership is very exciting, it’s a sports betting editorial publication that has a lot of really great traction with a number of sports fans. Given all those different touchpoints, given the fact that they're the market leader, and given they have so many fans of other sports, like football, the NBA and the NHL, we see this as not only a great commercial partner for us, but also a great partner for us to grow fandom in and grow our audience.

It's becoming increasingly clear for us that we should still be trying to engage with traditional NFL fans and getting them to watch a little bit more baseball. The same goes with basketball. Betting is a really unique opportunity to do that because of the fact gambling becomes something, when done in the right way, that can be fun across sports. You may not even need to have deep insights about a sport, but it's fun to place a fun entertainment wager on another sport from time to time. Over 95% of DraftKings’ customer base has placed at least one wager on baseball. They've been great partners and we love their team.

What about growing that fandom in international markets? Have you seen much betting in other countries on Major League Baseball?

We like to consider ourselves a global sport. However, I think we still have a very high level of penetration primarily in Latin America. We have seen betting be a great form of fan engagement. We have partnerships with Betcris and had Tab previously down in Australia. Through those partnerships and working collaboratively, we have seen baseball sports betting be a great way to continue to grow our audience. It's something where I think we're still very much in the early stages. The UK is actually a priority market for us. For the people who are looking for action, our benefit really comes from the number of events we have – the volume of games we play. We play every single day across the summer. Luckily for us, the same exact initiatives that we're running domestically should apply to international markets.

What are some of the changes you've already had to make in sports betting, advertising or in sponsorship partnerships?

We're actually fortunate that we haven't had to take a step back. We purposely started off with a very limited amount of inventory and that was literally back in 2019. We have slowly but surely opened up slightly more and more opportunities for clubs based on their feedback, based on operator feedback, based on where other leagues were going. From a benchmarking perspective, it went back to that collaboration with leagues to sort of think holistically about the right balance point. I think we're comfortable with the volumes and limitations we set in place. Am I going to say that that's never going to change? No.

I think it's going to be something where we continue to look into whether or not we're getting a pulse on consumers, whether they think there's too much advertising or not enough. I think we've done a good enough job of making sure it's phased and very measured. There have been some instances where different legislative groups or regulators started to inquire and look into the amount of gambling advertising. But the good thing is that, from all of our conversations, they do understand that the leagues put really good provisions in place, and they see some of the work we've done with our responsible gaming code of conduct that's really set good standards across the industry.

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