LSR Q+A: FanDuel Racing GM On Kentucky Derby Betting, Marketing

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Kentucky Derby betting

The Kentucky Derby lasts about two minutes, but preparations for one of horse racing’s few primetime betting opportunities in the US span many months.

FanDuel and its parent company, Flutter, continue to invest in racing. It rebranded horse racing-centric TVG Network to FanDuel TV in September 2022. Then, the FanDuel app launched shared wallet technology across its sports and racing products two months later. The FanDuel brand has also been attached to several US horse races and events in recent years.

However, horse betting still produces a small percentage of Flutter’s US revenue. Market differences make an apples-to-apples comparison difficult, but, for perspective, horse betting makes up 60% of Flutter’s Australian revenue and 35% across the UK and Ireland.

Andrew Moore, general manager of FanDuel Racing, said the percentage of US revenue from racing is “much lower,” without providing an exact figure. In a recent conversation with LSR, Moore explained FanDuel’s deepening partnership with Churchill Downs, the cross-sell opportunity with legal sports betting now in Kentucky, and marketing strategies to increase Kentucky Derby betting.

LSR: What can players expect in year two of the partnership with Churchill Downs?

Andrew Moore: Churchill Downs is our online market access partner for Kentucky sports betting. There is no state with a greater crossover between sports and horse racing than Kentucky.

We have a greater feel for the event, which is also a big part of it. There are little things you learn in year one that make the experience better for the customer, especially the newbies.

We will use more video content on social media and leverage our influencers around the Kentucky Derby.

We cleaned up some of our journeys as well. The cross-sell between sports and horse racing will be much plainer, which may not be obvious, but we reduced friction.

What have you learned about the Kentucky sports betting market since September?

Moore: Kentucky sports bettors certainly over-index in horse racing. It is very much in their DNA.

The number of sports bettors participating in horse betting is consistently higher than in other states, especially from a high-volume customer perspective.

Having things on one account with the shared wallet has made it seamless for players who enjoy both products. For the more sports-oriented customers, if you are in Kentucky, you cannot avoid the Derby, so having accessibility via their sportsbook account this year will be very helpful.

FanDuel will also increase its media investment in Kentucky because the opportunity is far greater than a year ago.

How do you capture the attention of sports fans who never bet on horses?

Moore: Ultimately, the Kentucky Derby is an opportunity to introduce people to the sport as much as anything. There are several things, from awareness and consideration down the funnel to placing a wager.

More than 80% of our sportsbook players, which is millions of players, have not bet on horses with us. There is a whole universe of people there that we want to introduce racing to.

For those customers, we want to make the event more accessible. We will have different content within the FanDuel Racing product, on social media, and FanDuel TV.

It is an exciting challenge with all sorts of content today. Our FanDuel TV analysts will talk to different audiences in different ways. It is all very different while still talking about the same thing.

How can horse racing attract new customers beyond Kentucky Derby betting?

Moore: It is no different than any other sport. You need a good narrative.

You hope the horse most people bet on wins because there is no greater attention factor than a winner. If that horse wins the Preakness Stakes and goes to the Belmont Stakes for a potential Triple Crown, that is the perfect scenario.

I will not lie, though: many people will bet on horses for the first time in the Kentucky Derby, and if they bet on racing again, it will be on the Kentucky Derby next year.

You have to accept that going in. There is no way we will get 100% or even 80% of those players to come back because, let’s face it, the Kentucky Derby is a unique event that gets increased interest.

How will FanDuel keep players engaged through the Triple Crown?

Moore: We will not be throwing offers at customers to bring them back. It is not sustainable and sets a false expectation around the product.

We want to give people content because racing is fun, but there are a lot of layers to it. You are trying to help people pull back another layer to the sport. Customers we feel are likely to engage with FanDuel TV, we will get that content in front of them.

We also have cross-product initiatives, too. If someone is interested in NBA betting during the playoffs, we make sure they are aware of both NBA and horse betting content.

How has shared wallet helped improve cross-sell between sports and horses?

Moore: You have dedicated horseplayers who occasionally play sports, and they may be more likely to stay in a horse racing-only product.

Then you have your horseplayers and sports bettors and they, depending on the season, will play more on one or the other. Within the sportsbook and racing universe, these are the key players. Dedicated horseplayers are still more likely to play on their racing-specific advance deposit wagering platform.

Then you have this universe of people who have never placed a bet on horse racing in their life. We never see it as the main product for that group, but it is accessible to them.

It is something fun to wager on, especially during either marquee moments or quiet moments on the sports betting calendar.

What pieces of the customer journey have you cleaned up ahead of Kentucky Derby betting?

Moore: It is tiny stuff all over the place. For example, when you pressed on horse racing last year, there would have been a full screen telling you the racing page was loading. Now, it is just a loading bar and is far more accessible.

We will have the horse racing page on the sportsbook home page. Also a banner saying “Bet the Kentucky Derby” will also be there.

The way we process offers for customers betting on sports and then going to horse racing, and vice versa, is cleaner, too. There are lots of little things that, if you are not looking for them, you may not see, but things, as a customer, you will find cool.