The DraftKings world domination tour continued Tuesday afternoon with the announcement the daily fantasy and sports betting company has entered into what it calls a “first-of-its-kind distribution, monetization, and sponsorship” agreement with Meadowlark Media, a company formed in January by former ESPN honcho John Skipper and broadcaster Dan Le Batard.
First up on the distribution, monetization, and sponsorship calendar? DraftKings will be distributing The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.
“We’re thrilled to find a collaborator in DraftKings that shares our vision to grow Dan Le Batard’s already wildly popular network of shows in non-conventional ways,” said Meadowlark CEO John Skipper in a press release. “With the freedom to widely distribute these programs, we’ll be able to reach the largest possible audience and provide incredible content to DraftKings.”
Make no mistake: This is another major move into media from DraftKings, fresh off the heels of purchasing Vegas Sports and Information Network (VSiN). The deal with Meadowlark — which, according to a Miami Herald report, saw DraftKings beat out such media heavyweights as Sirius XM, Peacock, and iHeart Radio — is a three-year agreement, and reports in both the Herald and the Wall Street Journal say DraftKings is paying anywhere from $40-$50 million for the honor.
“John Skipper and Dan Le Batard have established a deep roster of content creators that will continue to expand quality and original programming,” Jason Robins, CEO, co-founder, and chairman of DraftKings, said in the release. “Our relationship with Meadowlark Media demonstrates DraftKings’ dynamic approach in bringing premium content to skin-in-the-game sports fans through numerous channels.”
DraftKings beat out plenty of suitors
DraftKings did not have an easy road in securing this deal; according to the Herald, Sirius XM pushed hard, telling Le Batard it saw him as a sports heir to The Howard Stern Show, but Le Batard balked at the subscription model offered by the satellite giant.
“We didn’t want to do that to our listeners,” Le Batard told the Miami Herald. “The thing that I chose was freedom. Every time I’ve negotiated anywhere was for freedom, not money. This allows Meadowlark to be profitable from the start, and have total freedom to do what we want. We can go forward and appear everywhere. We can make partnerships anywhere we want. We don’t have any corporate overlord. Our partner is our sponsor and what they are sponsoring is our freedom.”
For DraftKings, this is another major move in expanding its media footprint, following the purchase of VSiN. In addition to partnering with Meadowlark on the flagship Le Batard show, DraftKings and Meadowlark will also be partnering to commission new media projects.
DraftKings will also be distributing all the other programs in the Le Batard and Friends network, according to the Herald report, and will be directly responsible for finding partners and platforms across all media landscapes, from radio to television to social channels.
According to the Herald, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz will continue as a podcast for the next handful of weeks, much as it has since Le Batard and ESPN parted ways on Jan. 4. Sometime this summer, the “new” show will be televised on YouTube, Twitch, and a new DraftKings-specfiic channel.
”Thank you, DraftKings, for empowering us with the exhilarating combination of rocket fuel and total freedom,” said Le Batard in the release. “I’m overjoyed to team with a fearless creative partner who sees the future and wants to help us change it. DraftKings believed in us, our principles, and our mission enough to give us a freedom no scared corporation or traditional media partner ever could or ever would. To our fans, know that DraftKings is the reason you aren’t behind a paywall, and I’m promising you the money won’t change the show or corrupt us in any way.”
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