FanDuel Beefs Up Horse Racing Offerings With Churchill Downs Deal

Written By Pat Evans on September 9, 2022
FanDuel

Churchill Downs might be pulling out of online sports betting, but it is off to a fast start with its business-to-business horse racing product push by agreeing to a deal with FanDuel Group.

Churchill Downs Inc. announced Thursday a multi-year deal with FanDuel, including providing the ability to place pari-mutuel horse racing betting on the FanDuel Sportsbook app. CDI unveiled the idea to sell its horse racing technology to sportsbooks during its earnings call last month after announcing the intent to leave sports betting earlier this year.

FanDuel will also receive certain rights to CDI horse racing content. The leading US sportsbook will begin to pay for the technology and services in January.

“With the launch of FanDuel TV last week and the upcoming integration of premier racing content into our market-leading sportsbook, we believe this is an inflection point in our ability to offer our customers a seamless wagering experience with a single wallet,” FanDuel CEO Amy Howe said in a release.  “We are especially pleased that we will be able to offer wagering on the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby, and that we will have exclusive broadcast rights to the Churchill Downs Incorporated family of tracks on FanDuel TV.

“We look forward to creating new audiences for horse racing.”

Details of the FanDuel-CDI deal

CDI and FanDuel subsidiary TVG are competitors in the advance deposit horse racing wagering space. That competition might simmer, as FanDuel will offer horse racing wagers in the sportsbook app through the partnership.

The services are provided by CDI subsidiary United Tote Co. In August, the New York Racing Association agreed to purchase 49% of United Tote Co.

FanDuel also gains access to CDI racing content for its TV networks, which were until recently TVG-branded. CDI did not disclose the financial terms of the overall deal.

“We look forward to working with FanDuel to deliver premium horse racing content to their expansive base of sports wagering customers,” CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen said in the release. “We are confident that FanDuel’s market approach teamed with our expertise and technology will seamlessly deliver horse racing content and pari-mutuel wagering solutions to a significant number of new fans.”

Kentucky Derby sponsorship for FanDuel

Along with the horse racing technology, services, and content, FanDuel becomes a non-exclusive sports betting partner of the Kentucky Derby.

That portion of the agreement comes with an undisclosed annual sponsorship fee.

Bettors wagered a record $179 million on the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby in May 2022.

CDI horse racing pedigree

Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville is the home of the Kentucky Derby. CDI also operates casinos in eight states, and owns and operates the TwinSpires online horse racing betting platform.

Carstanjen said there is no concern the B2B product might cannibalize the remaining TwinSpires business.

“TwinSpires is driven by committed players,” he said on the August earnings call. “[The sportsbook] cohort is not who drives the performance of TwinSpires.”

With TwinSpires winding down sports betting, some licenses will open up in states. CDI recently shut down TwinSpires in Michigan sports betting, with SI Sportsbook set to take its place.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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