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Cable Tech

Dish adds DraftKings to 'Hopper' boxes, tie-ins with Sling TV, Boost Mobile on deck

Dish Network is the latest pay-TV provider to place a bet on sports wagering after striking an app integration deal with DraftKings.

Dish has initially integrated DraftKings' sportsbook and daily fantasy experience on the Internet-connected Hopper platform for its satellite TV service. Dish said it will also weave DraftKings into Sling TV, its OTT-TV service, as well as Boost Mobile, the prepaid mobile service that Dish took over following the completion of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger.

Dish satellite TV customers with Hopper boxes can use the integrated  DraftKings app to view betting odds and fantasy contests, and initiate bets or contest entries with DraftKings directly from their TV. 
(Image source: Dish Network)
Dish satellite TV customers with Hopper boxes can use the integrated DraftKings app to view betting odds and fantasy contests, and initiate bets or contest entries with DraftKings directly from their TV.
(Image source: Dish Network)

Dish has not said when Sling TV and Boost Mobile will tie in DraftKings, but did note that it sees potential for the partnership to take advantage of Dish's developing 5G network. Dish announced last month it expects to launch its 5G network in at least one major city by the end of Q3 2021.

Strategically, Dish believes the integration of DraftKings will "amplify the sports-fan experience."

In the current Hopper example, customers now have access to the DraftKings app to view betting odds and fantasy contests, and can initiate bets or contest entries with DraftKings directly from their TV. The integration also lets Dish subs on Hopper boxes set recordings and watch the live sports that correspond with individual bets or their fantasy teams. After a bet or fantasy contest entry is initiated, customers are then prompted via text message to complete the transaction within the DraftKings app on their mobile device. Initial betting via the DraftKings integration covers games for NCAA basketball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

Dish currently has pending gaming approvals in West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

FuboTV nears launch of integrated sports wagering

The DraftKings deal enters the picture as Dish and other pay-TV providers seek out new ways to differentiate and add features and capabilities that can help them gain and retain subscribers.

For example, FuboTV, a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) that competes with Sling TV and other pay-TV providers, is pushing ahead with an aggressive plan to integrate both free and real money sports wagering onto its platform.

FuboTV, which ended 2020 with 548,000 pay-TV subs, announced Tuesday that it intends to launch free-to-play predictive games in Q3 2021, initially to FuboTV subs, and then later to all consumers. It plans to follow with the launch of an integrated sportsbook in Q4 2021. FuboTV also announced it has completed deals to become an "Authorized Gaming Operator" for Major League Baseball (MLB) and the NBA.

"We believe it [wagering] will enhance the sports streaming experience while also providing a bridge between our video product and our sportsbook," FuboTV CEO David Gandler said on the company's earnings call.

Gandler did not completely shoot down the idea of partnering with other pay-TV providers and offering it on their platforms, when asked if FuboTV would consider the idea. "We'll probably focus on our direct-to-consumer business, but I don't want to close the door to potential opportunities to work with other MVPDs," he said.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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