Rupert Murdoch is primed to impose an advertising blackout of America’s most popular sports betting brand if its British owner refuses to back down in a bitter legal row. FanDuel, which is owned by FTSE 100 bookmaker Flutter Entertainment, risks being taken off the air by FoxSports, America’s second-biggest sports television network, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. The threat comes at a time when advertising is playing a key role in allowing operators to grab a toehold in what is expected to be the world’s biggest regulated market. If followed through, it would mark a significant escalation of a row that erupted last week between Fox Corporation and Flutter. Fox last week launched legal action in New York against Flutter, the operator behind Sky Bet, Paddy Power and Betfair, in a row over FanDuel, which has a 40pc share of the US market. Fox has an option to buy an 18.6pc stake in FanDuel in July. It claims it is entitled to pay the same price that Flutter paid in December, when the London-listed operator acquired the shares of FanDuel that it did not own at the time. But Flutter claims it must pay the “fair market value” in July and has alleged that Fox is trying to secure a “windfall” by buying the shares at a lower price. One insider said that Fox’s preference was to resolve the dispute. However, if it could not be resolved, Fox would focus on advertising its own brand, FoxBet, instead of promoting FanDuel. Sources close to Flutter claimed that Fox had realised it has backed the wrong horse. Fox and Flutter declined to comment.
Fox takes legal action to lower price of stake it may buy in betting firm FanDuelRupert Murdoch’s corporation says it should be allowed to buy a stake at the same price Flutter paid last year People making their bets with FanDuel during the Super Bowl in 2019. Photograph: Eduardo Muñoz/Reuters
Many details still need to be ironed out, but it looks like mobile sports betting will become a reality.