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NRL in talks with FanDuel to venture into US betting market

NRL in talks with FanDuel to venture into US betting market

The National Rugby League has initiated discussions with FanDuel, a prominent US-based betting giant, to explore the possibility of live-streaming rugby league matches on its platform with the aim of capitalising on the burgeoning American sports wagering market.

This development – reported by the Sydney Morning Herald – comes just months ahead of the historic Las Vegas double-header that will mark the beginning of the 2024 NRL season in early-March. Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo have intensified their efforts to establish an official partnership with an American wagering company.

Among potential partners, FanDuel, valued at a staggering $US31 billion ($48 billion), stands out as the leading contender due to its immense scale and popularity among American bettors.

SMH reports sources within the NRL indicate that the league has explored the concept of providing live match footage to US sportsbooks for direct integration into their platforms. This model draws inspiration from practices in Australian horse and greyhound racing, where regulators have supplied imagery to online bookmakers.

An alignment with FanDuel is evident – Flutter, the parent company of FanDuel, also owns Sportsbet, the official Australian betting partner of rugby league.

The NRL remains open to discussions with other US gambling companies as it weighs whether an exclusive partnership or collaboration with multiple operators is the most strategic approach for a foreign sport endeavouring to establish itself in the world’s largest market.

The legalisation of sports betting in numerous US states over recent years has catalysed a surge in the industry, with FanDuel and DraftKings the early leaders in capturing a substantial market share.

FanDuel has already ventured into betting partnerships by becoming a partner of the NHL, where it promotes its sports betting and fantasy products. Notably, its website was already offering odds on the winners of the NRL and AFL competitions in 2024.

During a recent trip to the United States, Peter V’landys accompanied Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the White House and met with President Joe Biden.

V’landys expressed confidence in the potential of this initiative, stating, “We worked out that if all this goes to plan, it has the potential to generate hundreds of millions for rugby league. Not tens of millions – hundreds of millions.”

“You need confidence in your sport. We have the greatest game of all. If I didn’t have confidence in our product, I wouldn’t be here. It’s entertaining, it’s brutal and it will attract people. But we know it will only be as good as you implement it.”

The Las Vegas double-header will feature traditional adversaries South Sydney and Manly in the first match at Allegiant Stadium, which will have hosted the Super Bowl only two weeks prior to the NRL’s extravaganza. The second match sees high-profile rivals Sydney Roosters and Brisbane square off.

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