Author Archives: Joe Favorito

Silver Chalice Looks For Digital Gold

Silver Chalice Looks For Digital Gold
By: Tanner Simkins
In recent years the buzzwords in sports business were things like “Daily Fantasy,” and “OTT,” 2016 is clearly shaping up as the year of streaming. From new platforms like Amazon getting involved in the sports space, to the focus on digital during the Rio Olympics to the flurry of deals announced with Facebook Live and Twitter, the non-traditional engagement platforms are gaining speed from the largest of properties to the most niche.
One of those companies growing quickly in the space is Silver Chalice. Founded in 2009 the Chicago-based company had a goal to create television­-quality video in partnership with rights holders and other dominant players in the sports media industry to a fast-growing digital first world. Led by Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and his co-­owners of the Chicago White Sox, Silver Chalice owns and operates Campus Insiders, SportsLabs, the ACC Digital Network in partnership with Raycom Sports and the Atlantic Coast Conference, and 120 Sports in partnership with MLBAM, the NHL, Time Inc. / Sports Illustrated, the PGA TOUR. They also recently received an infusion of investment dollars from BAMTECH  to grow the businesses even further, and have announced a slew of deals, including a Twitter streaming partnership and the moving of its “Morning Run” news and information show to New York.
We caught up with Dana Golden, EVP, Business Development.  to find out more about the goings-on with Silver Chalice and its growing list of partners.
This is the latest in a series of announcements that really positions the Silver Chalice properties for growth in the digital space. How did these come about in such a rapid fire succession, and what are the first things people will notice?
The recent flurry of announcements reflects the demand for high quality sports content in the digital space and the emergence of OTT products and platforms to support the demand. Our content offering is unique in that we deliver live programming like a linear cable network but also provide timely video on demand news content with the best plays and game highlights to support what fans are talking about. People will notice our time to market with quality video content that is easily discoverable by team, sport, athlete, coach, conference, trending hashtags and more.
How do you think the Twitter announcement will impact traffic for the platforms?
What’s unique about Twitter is that you have certified fans of schools already talking about their teams, the plays, the score, game reactions and more. By streaming games directly on our network and conference handles, the Twitter platform becomes the first screen experience and delivers a more engaged audience that can converse with each other and share insights with both fans and rivals. We know the power of social media sharing and we believe Twitter has the opportunity to drive viewership and followers to our network through our live games and shoulder programing.
You have some very powerful partners with great content. How will that content be used differently or more effectively going forward?
From the Mountain West to the Patriot League to the West Coast Conference and now with the addition of Conference USA, we do, in fact, have great Conference partners. On the 120 Sports front, we have very strong partnerships in place with 20+ professional leagues, everyone from MLB to the UFC to the Professional Bowlers Association. We’re proud of these partnerships and believe together we can deliver tremendous value to sports fans across the country. Being able to lean into MLBAM’s array of technology will no doubt allow us to bring a better experience to distributors, sponsors and fans. Time will tell how these experiences will manifest themselves over the next few years, but we are excited about the possibilities.
Campus Insiders has built a treasure trove of content on its own, will this week’s announcement provide assets to get into more rights deals than already exist?
We’re very proud of the live game schedule that we have built at Campus Insiders since our launch. We started with zero games in 2013 to this year when we anticipate streaming over 3200 games. A large part of our success to date has been the commitment of our conference partners in embracing forward-thinking partnerships with long-term goals. With the BAMTech announcement, Campus Insider is poised to grow and we look forward to adding to our live game portfolio, as rights become available.
What does Morning Run moving to New York do for the show in terms of content, and for the visibility of 120 Sports?
Moving the Morning Run from Chicago to New York gives 120 Sports a daily presence in two of the biggest sports markets in the country.  This will not only allow us to be closer to our partners, but enable us to tap into the biggest names in sports while they’re in town. We’re excited about the possibilities.
BAMTECH had already made a Disney announcement and ESPN tied to that an ACC Network deal for the future, and Silver Chalice has the ACC Digital Network. Will there be collaborations on content between the ACC, ESPN and Silver Chalice going forward?
For the ACC Digital Network, it’s business as usual. Since its launch in 2011, the ACCDN has always been the go-to source for all things ACC: from previews, to recaps, to Must See Moments, the ACCDN produces the most comprehensive video-on-demand segments in the market today. We don’t expect that to change.
120 Sports launched to much fanfare, then retooled and went quiet and now is very prominent again. Where would we expect to see 120 in the digital media conversationin six month to a year and why?
Since we launched in June 2014, we have been focused on making the 120 Sports product and content better every single day. That work will continue to happen. Today, 120 Sports produces more than 40 hours of live and original programming each week and distributes over 100 VOD segments each day.  That is a tremendous amount of content that is unheard of for a digital sports business. As we launch on additional platforms and become a fixture of OTT services, we expect 120 Sports will become part of the daily sports conversation, the place where fans of all ages find the best highlights, analysis and production. As digital sports consumption grows, we expect 120 Sports to grow as well.
With all the content and partnerships now on the table, what is the most valuable piece of the business SC has and why?
Clearly, the Campus Insiders’ live games are at the core of our offering. However, we also pride ourselves on the studio operations that 120 Sports, Campus Insiders and the ACC Digital Network have created. Day in, day out, these teams are producing very compelling, footage-driven highlights and feature story telling that compares with any sports cable television network. So it’s not really one or the other that is most valuable to our business, but the combination of our live games AND the shoulder programming that we produce that creates the best fan experience.
For those new to the platform for this fall. What’s the one thing, or two things, you will tell brands and consumers to watch for?
As noted previously, we have announced a flurry of deal activity across our network portfolio over the last few weeks.  Up next is launching these platforms and actually making them available to those that matter the most: that is, the sports fan. Last week, Campus Insiders launched on Sling TV and we were very proud to stream the first college football game on Twitter on September 1st. Expect more launches throughout the fall and more live games on Twitter. It’s a very exciting time in our business!

FanDuel and DraftKings reportedly in merger talks – Bloomberg

DraftKings and Fan Duel are in merger talks, Bloomberg News is reporting.
The two biggest players in the Fantasy Sports space have been discussing a merger for some time, according to Bloomberg, which is citing sources.
The private companies have been battling various state regulators over whether fantasy is really just a form of illegal gambling. New York, for instance, banned the companies from doing business earlier this year.

FANTASY: Employees at fantasy companies bet at rival sites with inside information
Read more here.

Kentucky Derby: Any horse’s race that could use a Jennifer Lopez

2016-kentucky-derby-preview-what-to-know-who-to-bet-1By Frank Scandale
Saturday’s Kentucky Derby seems to have about as much sizzle this week as former presidential hopeful John Kasich’s campaign, if you are an average American following the cultural trends of the moment.

Obviously, if you are reading this, you and many others deeply connected to the sport and related betting efforts, are as immersed in the race as Anderson Cooper is in the presidential race. But for the casual fan, the ones the sport needs to thrive beyond the big marquee events, this might not be the race that changes  their Saturday evening schedule.

It’s not even in the top 20 Twitter trends as I write this.

That’s not to say it won’t be a widely watched race, replete with Derby parties from coast to coast, mint julips, big hats and much betting. But unless Jennifer Lopez gets announced as a jockey on one of these horses, the pre-race excitement level will hover far below last year’s event.

You remember last year’s race? The one when a horse named American Pharoah burst onto the scene as the first legitimate Triple Crown threat since Affirmed in 1978.

Even before Pharoah had stepped onto the Louisville track, he was revered from coast to coast by just about anyone who had ever been to a track or a Derby party. People who didn’t know a Triple Crown from triple bypass bandied about his name with customary casualness, as if they had dined with the 3-year-old just the other night.

But this year, I sensed a lack of excitement, if not downright ignorance that the most heralded horse race event of the year was about to take place. I’d wager if you polled a mall full of shoppers, they couldn’t name two horses in the race. I wondered if it was just me as I drove home from work the other night.

240px-American_PharoahBut I was listening to sports radio when a caller pinged host Mike Francesa and uttered my thoughts. Bingo. Franesca sort of agreed, sort of disagreed, but did chalk it up to an absence of an American Pharoah. Today I opened up USA Today and the centerpiece print edition story signaled the same malaise.

Perhaps it’s been the drab weather that the New York metro area has been experiencing this week. Chilly rain and cancelled baseball games have done nothing to fuel the excitement  that warmer temps and sun usually generate. Hard to wear a so-called “picture hat,” the widebrimmed numbers favored by decked out ladies at the Derby, when the rain is going sideways.

That said, industry players such as Stephen Panus, vice president of the Jockey Club/America’s Best Racing, are on the scene by now, working the crowd and generating enough interest in the race to assuage the naysayers.

Stephen Panus with son Jake, 11.

Stephen Panus with son Jake, 11.

He agrees though, that no horse is garnering the kind of odds that Pharoah did.

“Nyquist is the favorite but agree the race is wide open. I see 11 horses who could win,’ he said, a day before heading off to Louisville.

Nyquist, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, earns his favorite status by virtue of a 7-for-7 record, including four Grade 1 races. He was listed at 3-1 Friday afternoon by many bookmakers. Exaggerator is the next best bet at 8-1, and then a few at 10-1. A couple of good breakdowns of the field can be found at and another by America’s Best Racing.

In addition, American’s Best Racing offered a video analysis of the race.

Meawhile William Hill US said it was offering bettors odds both to win the Derby and odds to win the 2016 Triple Crown for a field of 20 horses.


Bettors can wager on both the horse to win the Kentucky Derby and an extensive menu of Derby props and matchups  on any of the 105 William Hill Sports Books in Nevada or on the William Hill Mobile Sports app.  A full list of locations and details on the Mobile Sports app can be found at

I hope I am wrong about this Derby excitement drought. I hope Saturday dawns and millions of fans can think of nothing else but those brief moments of sheer madness when dozens of thundering hoofs pound the track at dizzying speeds, that women in stunning attire and hats are screaming words their mothers never taught them and that the winner emerges victorious and becomes the next Triple Crown would-be darling.






Lessons from a Sports Business Industry Veteran

From time to time, we like to hear from professionals in the sports industry. Their stories are usually interesting, at times surprising and almost always contain a lesson for many of us. This piece comes from Joe Favorito, a veteran of the industry who has seen much, accomplished more and knows many. – The Daily Payoffdraftkings-msg-marketing-deal-daily-fantasy-sports


By Joe Favorito

It was 10 years ago Thursday that I got the call to go down for a casual meeting with my boss Barry Watkins which turned into my last day at Madison Square Garden. Change of philosophy, roles, duties etc., and it was time to part ways after seven seasons that started with Jeff Van Gundy as head coach, Steve Mills as President and Scott Layden as GM and ended with Larry Brown coaching, Isiah Thomas as GM and President.  Over. Done. Next.

The biggest question at that point, as so many have when you reach that crossroads, was, what’s next?

Ten years later I can say the road I ended up on may seem clearer but it certainly was not; it wasn’t planned or asked for or wanted. It has never been very safe or easy, but it has been interesting, challenging, unexpected, lucrative and fun.  It’s not what I chose, it really chose me, this consulting business, but we certainly have made it work.

All along the way, from almost two years helping get the fledgling International Fight League afloat, running and then holding on as we ended with a great business plan and no cash as a public company that was sold to the UFC , to the myriad of tasks, partners, advisories, teaching assignments and meetings that make up a busy life today, it has always been about the people. Those you meet along the way, help out, stay in contact with, ask questions of, struggle with, laugh with, hug, scoff at, and listen to, are what a business is all about. It’s not about things as much as maybe it was once, it is about experiences and figuring out how to shape those experiences into smart business decisions where everyone benefits.

Looking back, one of the biggest lessons learned was to trust and listen to your friends and colleagues who take the time to reach out, especially when the time is dark…and there always will be dark days..

Putting my family on another plateau, they have always been there…three people; Meredith Geisler, John Genzale, and Jon Pessah, saw something in me that could get me started…that a loyal network of contacts and understanding of media and people gave me an edge, and that there would be people willing to help.

Genzale, one of the founders of The Sports Business Journal, went one better; he knew of something…namely a writing project…that I would have the time for. There was a need in a new text book series for a book on Sports Publicity, and over a year and a half transition period (during which I was at the IFL learning about a startup and how it ran, and helping run it) the book became reality. John also introduced me to Lucas Rubin, who was tasked with starting a sports management program at Columbia University. That has led to 10 years of teaching graduate classes, and four years of teaching a vibrant high school sports program in the summer at Columbia, which has been beyond rewarding in terms of meeting so many young people entering the business, as well as a robust faculty, many of whom I was able to help bring to Columbia through other relationships.

Geisler and Pessah, two longtime friends, were really the ones who convinced me to jump into the consulting pool while the water was just starting to rise. Meredith had been in the consulting business in DC and Jon had just helped ESPN The Magazine get its legs, and both saw things in me that I didn’t know were there. Now that the economy has changed several times over… a recent Wall Street Journal article said that over 60 percent of the workforce will be consulting by the year 2020 as companies continue to streamline headcount, assess benefit costs and adapt to a volatile business environment…the consulting pool is very much deeper and many have plunged in, only to eventually wade out. Somehow the push of those people at an early stage helped me learn how to swim, and has kept me afloat for over 10 years now.

Along the way I could have never envisioned the myriad of places and events that have come, stayed and moved on. The list includes helping get one sport back in the Olympics (wrestling) and a valiant and fun effort that failed to get another sport back in (baseball). The launch of franchises in World Team Tennis (second one coming up this summer), and amazing work with people in DNA testing, security, analytics, beach volleyball, rugby, soccer, cricket, hockey, golf, football, high school sports, MMA, mind sports, eGaming, gambling, fantasy sports, drone racing, drag racing and on and on.  I have worked on FIVE Broadway plays, including one, Lombardi, which has spawned so many other business and personal relationships that have lasted much longer than anyone thought the show ever would, as well as a host of film and book projects. We flew out on a helicopter to train sailors in MMA and then rode the ships back into New York Harbor for an amazing experience for Fleet Week, learned how to throw a knuckleball from Charlie Hough, helped hold wrestling events in Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, chatted with Larry David at the batting cage at CitiField about our freshmen daughters at GW, took then- Packers star Greg Jennings to Capitol Hill to talk about philanthropy, created and helped run a growing number of conferences and continue to meet and experience relationships with folks young and old, in and out of the media, from around the world. Every day is different, and every day something interesting happens.

Then there have been the startups. The successful ones that were eventually sold like The Big Lead and Comicon, Global Options and Bloomberg Sports, and some of the fun but less successful ones that came and went pretty quickly, or ran out of money and had to retrench. There were so many innovative and smart people to learn from; Harvey Schiller and Chris Russo, Mary Scott and Chris LaPlaca, Melissa Chusid and Karla Swatek, Bill Squadron and Tom Richardson, Randy Walker and Chris Lencheski, Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, Mike McCarthy and Bryan Harris, Ron Colangelo and Ross Greenburg, Chris Dougan and Eric Gelfand, Harrie Bakst and Sara Weinstein, Vince Gennaro and Ray Katz, Seth Abraham and Gareb Shamus, Lee Stacey and Terry Lyons, Tina Cervasio and Seth Magalaner, Jerry Milani and Jim DeLorenzo, Frank Scandale and Q. Williams and the late Jay Larkin just to name a few.

As we head into a second decade of consulting, there are a few basic things that stand out, simple as they seem. I hate lists, so consider them just some discussion points from the road.

People say you work for yourself, but you actually work for everyone else. While there is freedom and autonomy, there is always a churn of business and starts and stops and so many personalities to deal with. When one works for a company, a team, a league; there is kind of a natural flow at least in some parts of the year. When you are on your own you are always on someone else’s time. Learning how to balance those needs, that workflow, those finances and most importantly your time, is not always easy and is not for everyone. Having 27 to 30 1099’s at the end of the year is always interesting, but in many ways it serves as a reminder of all the people and places you can touch if you can get the sauce cooking correctly.

It’s About the Experiences, Not the Things: While we need the best tools  of communication to do our work, we should be able to live and work in a setting that is both affordable and functional. The more valuable assets we have are the shared experiences, the positive memories that we can take with us on the darkest and quietest of days. The journey we have in business, any business, is made so much tougher if the ride along the way isn’t enjoyable.

Put Joy In What You Do. I was listening to SiriusXM a few weeks ago when I happened on to a conversation that Brendan Suhr, a longtime friend, now associate men’s hoops coach at LSU, was having about the secret he has seen to successful athletic programs. One key element he thought was lacking in the demeanor of so many elite athletes or successful people was joy. No matter how driven you are, you should be able to convey the good to others. I have never been known for being the most outwardly happy of people, but I am convinced that a smile and more importantly, positive passion and enthusiasm are invaluable, whether you are a third grade teacher or LeBron James. There is too much sadness in the world, if you love what you do convey that publicly.

The People Matter More Than The Work: Like the experiences, the spending of time with people…real, in your face time, not virtual time, and making sure the people you are working with share your values, your work ethic and your goals, is very important. We live in a society where culture in the workplace sometimes gets lost, but that culture, that shared experience with friends and colleagues, is so much more valuable for the long term than any one project. No you can’t shirk your duties to go and share a bottle of wine at lunch, but taking the time to talk and listen and enjoy those around you is invaluable to success.

Be A Good Listener. I have said this before, but the value of listening…you have two ears and one mouth…is invaluable in business and society today. The world we are in sometimes become a place where you have to shout the loudest or proclaim yourself important to move along, but in the long run if you listen well to those around you, you become a better business partner and a better friend and you will HEAR and learn some amazing things from others.

Always Be Willing To Learn. It is cliché that we learn more from failure than success, and frankly I think you learn a great deal from winning, but regardless, you should always strive to learn more. Read, consume information, try new technology, watch and listen to others around you. Yes it’s true there is so much white noise out there and so much we could be consuming in terms of media it can be overwhelming and somewhat deafening, but if you pick your spots and curate the channels you can learn from someone every day, and then share that knowledge, sometimes it’s just trivia, with others.

Choose The Right Opportunity, Not The Only Opportunity: One of my best friends spent a career in insurance and was miserable. He was always a people person, he sang at my wedding and got hired by the band. Now as he transitions for what he does next what is he doing? Driving for Lyft. Not as a last resort, it’s because it gives him flexibility, the ability to meet and network with people and be around for when his kids need something. It more than pays his bills and keeps him in conversations  that actually lead to jobs. Is it foe everyone? No. But he found something to get him to another place.  Are there times when you may get painted into a corner and do things just for the money? Maybe, and if you aren’t in control of your own path it certainly isn’t always an easy choice, but at the end of the day the one currency you always have is your reputation, and in this business, reputation trumps dollars. If you are good at what you do and are able to articulate your value, opportunities will arise. Sometimes not today, but they will arise. Right is might.

Tell Your Story To Yourself And Others. There is the famous scene in the movie “Glengarry Glenn Ross” where Blake, played by Alec Baldwin, gives his ABC speech; Always Be Closing.  No matter what your field, you are always selling, and in order to sell you need to tell the right story. No difference if you are selling yourself for a new opportunity, a date, a school, an internship. By listening and always learning you develop your narrative and if you can tell your story, you can certainly tell the story of others. Like listening, storytelling is so important to success. Take the time to become a good storyteller. Maybe you have to have a little more BS in you, but everyone has a story, you just have to work at telling it.

Do The Little Things. Write notes, remember birthdays, say thank you, send little gifts at the holidays, tip well, answer emails from job seekers, and always ask “what  can I do for you?” when someone does you a solid. Those little pieces of humanity get lost, and certainly go a long way.

Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously. I used to be a lot more guilty of this, but having to wear so many hats for so many people, gives you perspective. Rarely in sports or entertainment is something life and death. Take a breath. Examine the situation, look for a different answer. Don’t panic. Don’t lie, and after the smoke clears, look left and right. Chances are the fire you were putting out was just a small skirmish, the whole forest wasn’t really burning down. Go back to the idea of finding joy before too long.

And lastly, Be True To Yourself, Your Family and All Those Around You.  My old friend Scott Layden,  always said “the whole world is two blocks long,” and that is more true in sports and entertainment than anywhere else. Your reputation, more than you’re your network, your twitter followers, your expense account, the big company or team you work for,  your LinkedIn page, is what you have to stand on. Once you screw people, the world knows. Also, and I have seen this happen countless times, success makes people forget where they came from and who helped them get there. Treat people as people no matter whom or where you are. The little kindness on top goes a long way when you are on the bottom.

So that’s it. Ten years in, businesses have come and gone, my family, especially my kids and my nieces, continue to surprise me every day. Not a week goes by where there isn’t some agida, but I continue to learn that the joy from those around me, far outweighs the negatives and probably always have. This certainly isn’t where I thought I would be as I walked out of 2 Penn Plaza 10 years ago, but I have really enjoyed most of the ride, am eternally grateful to those I have shared it with, and am more than willing to see where it’s gonna go next.

So what can I do for you?

– See more at:

Leicester City Football Club’s odds longer than King Richard’s?


The town that just re-buried the last king of England to die in battle just surpassed its own historic significance.
And it was for a battle of a different nature.
But the odds were longer for the team most likely than what faced King Richard III, who died in battle in 1485

At 5000-1, the odds of it winning the English Premier League title dwarfed some of the previous long shot sports outcomes of all time. Even the 1969 Mets were 100-1 to win the World Series.

There are no end to the superlatives tossed around about this improbably run by the Leicester City Football Club. Including that of Johnny Avello, the executive director of race and sports and Wynn Las Vegas.

“The Leicester City winning of the EPL is one of the biggest upsets In all time soccer if not all sports,” he offered 24 hours later as the reality of what had happened sunk in around the world.

The cost to bookmakers in Las Vegas run from $1 million to as high as $15 million, said, Avello.
“We had numerous $10 & $15 bets at 1000-1 and bigger wagers at lower odds,” he explained.
“Other off shore places had bets at 5000-1”
Avello, who has been doing this a long time, said it was the “biggest odds payout on a single event that I can remember.”

ESPN , back in February, perhaps sensed the longest of long shots soccer clubs might make a run, ran a good story outlining some of the other long shots in sports history, citing among others Auburn’s 1000-1 odds of winning a national championship in 2013, and the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series at 999-1

In terms of soccer, of football, the previous long shots were the US beating England in 1950 or Hungary beating England three years later at 500-1,  according to The Guardian, quoting William Hill’s Graham Sharpe.

Can Horse Racing Continue To Ride Recent Success?


By Joe Favorito

A long-awaited Triple Crown, record purses and exposure for The Breeder’s Cup, an uptick in brand innovation, digital media and fans of the sport. The year 2015 was certainly a good one for the sport of horse racing in the United States. With the Kentucky Derby on the horizon, what can be built off of last year?

We caught up with Stephen Panus Vice President of TJC Media Ventures and America’s Best Racing, to hear what’s coming down the track.

Q: As we head toward Triple Crown season, how does horse racing keep riding the momentum of American Pharoah?

A: 2015 was an amazing year for the sport of Thoroughbred racing as American Pharoah’s Triple Crown and Grand Slam winning feats endeared the sport to an entirely new generation of fans who witnessed first-hand the excitement, passion and thrills that horse racing offers. There haven’t been back-to-back Triple Crowns won since 1977-1978, so like NBA fans watching to see if the Golden State Warriors can repeat as NBA champions in 2016, the sports world will also be watching to see if history can repeat itself, once again, in horse racing. A deep and talented field of 20 talented racehorses, led by favorite Nyquist, is ready to pick up where American Pharoah left off and provide a national televised audience (NBC Sports) and a crowd in excess of 170,000 at Churchill Downs with a scintillating Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

Q: Several brands, Burger King for one, jumped on the bandwagon, has there been more interest in brand activation because of last year’s excitement?

2015 Stephen Panus head shotA: Most definitely. Vanity Fair and Longines are co-hosting a Kentucky Derby party in Louisville this year. Breathe Right has partnered with this year’s favorite, Nyquist. Vineyard Vines will be activating a sponsorship at the Kentucky Derby on the infield again this year. Racehorse owner and founder of BODY ARMOR Mike Repole, whose horse Outwork will be running in this year’s Kentucky Derby, will be leveraging the opportunity to promote his energy drink brand. For the luxury attendees, Sentient Jet will provide attendees with tickets in The Mansion access to book private travel to and from Louisville with the help of a private concierge team, among other benefits. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be hosted November 4-5 at Santa Anita Park, continues to attract sponsors as well, like E*Trade, Maker’s Mark, Sovaro Coolers, Longines, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Uber and Lyft, among others.

Q: Celebrity involvement in racing also seems to be on the rise. Who are some of the new faces engaged in the sport?

A: Celebrities have long been attracted to the sport of Thoroughbred racing because it’s fun, social, communal and thrilling. A day at the races is a social event and a great sports experience. Kate Upton, Elizabeth Banks, Bobby Flay, Jim Rome, Bode Miller, Rob Dyrdek, Eddie Olczyk and Kenny Mayne are just a few notable personalities who are engaged in the sport. Just weeks ago, John Elway spent a beautiful afternoon at Keeneland enjoying the races and Scottie Pippen attended a Thoroughbred sale in Florida. The list of celebrities attending this year’s Kentucky Derby appears bigger than ever and is topped by Jon Voight, Megyn Kelly, Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson and New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, among others. Also, Tom and Gayle Benson, the owners of the NFL New Orleans Saints and NBA New Orleans Pelicans, have two horses (Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready) racing in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Q: We are all about digital and social these days; how has the sport stepped up its game? What have been some of the best results?

A: No different than other sports, horse racing has fully embraced the digital and social media channels and platforms available to make the sport more available and consumable for the sports fan. America’s Best Racing remains the go-to site for the new and casual fan offering gambling tips, how-to videos, race previews, in-depth video series’ and ABR Wired features taking the fans behind the scenes, fashion advice, pop culture tie-ins, cheat sheets for the biggest races and events throughout the year and lots more. Horse racing, like other live televised sports, avails itself nicely to the varied social channels using Periscope video to capture what the TV camera often doesn’t, animated discussion and debates and different gambling perspectives and insights shared via Twitter and Facebook, SnapChat stories centered around the major events, photography features tailored-made for Instagram and Pinterest and gambling features on to educate and entertain soon-to-be and existing horse racing fans on key race days. Only four years old, America’s Best Racing has quickly amassed a highly engaged Facebook audience of 147,208.

Q: The Breeders Cup continues to be an intriguing asset, how has that brand overall expanded in recent years and what’s next for 2016?

A: Well said. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is one of the best major sports and entertainment events held annually in America. It offers everything for the modern sports fan over two days – fantastic gambling, high fashion, great horse races featuring the best racehorses from around the world, celebrities, and delicious food and cocktails. And similar to the Super Bowl, the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup is replete with parties, soirees, culinary experiences and an ownership seminar designed to attract new owners into the sport.

This year’s edition will be hosted by Santa Anita Park (Arcadia, CA) on November 4-5 and televised live by NBC Sports Group. The 2017 Breeders’ Cup will also be hosted in Southern California, at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, founded by Bing Crosby in 1937. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup returns to Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. The Breeders’ Cup continues to grow in popularity – both with fans and sponsors. If you’ve never been, I highly encourage one and all to add it to their must-experience list.

On top of that, the Breeders’ Cup will have a series of “Win And You’re In” Challenge races televised this summer and fall by NBC Sports Group, featuring many of the best races horses and the best race tracks, thereby extending the television coverage straight from the Triple Crown through the summer and early fall leading directly to the World Championships.

Q: The issue of Daily fantasy and sports gambling continues to be a hot button; how does that discussion help or hurt the position horse racing has in this country with regard to legal gambling?

A: With the rise in popularity of daily fantasy sports, the negative taboo formerly associated with sports gambling has dissipated. And America has long loved to gamble on sports. Horse racing remains the only sport you can legally wager on from your phone or mobile device. It’s ideally suited to take advantage of this digital and mobile generation who consumes content and uses mobile devices to interact and engage in every facet of their life. As such, I think this represents an opportunity for horse racing to welcome a new generation of fans into the sport.

Q: Who are some of the personalities to watch as we head toward Churchill Downs this spring?

A: Another impressive field of twenty 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will be in the starting gate for the 2016 Kentucky Derby. To learn more about each of the horses and their connections – jockey, trainer and owner(s) – including the odds and whom to gamble on and why, along with all the latest news, notes, and more, visit

Q: What was the biggest long-tail effect that last year’s Triple Crown win has on the sport from a business standpoint?

A: Well, it’s spring 2016 and the media is still writing, reporting and talking about American Pharoah, who now stands at stud at Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky. And anticipation for the upcoming 2016 Triple Crown races appears very high. One of the biggest takeaways from American Pharoah’s historic sporting feat is that fans and sponsors alike were re-introduced to one of America’s original sports and reminded that it very much holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the modern sports fan. Interest, attendance and media coverage in the sport throughout the races occurring after American Pharoah’s victory at Belmont Stakes remained heightened. And that interest and excitement is being propelled forward into the 2016 Triple Crown season and will be carried all the way to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in November.

America’s Best Racing recently launched a successful 4-episode ABR Films series chronicling “Where American Pharoah Learned To Be A Racehorse.” The first three episodes can be viewed here, and the fourth and final episode premieres this Thursday, April 28.

 is a well respeced veteran strategic media, communications and business professional in spots and entertainment marketing.

American Pharoah and Other Summer’s Top Stories

By Terry Lyons @terrylyons, Contributing Columnist for @TheDailyPayoff

In the eastern USA, it’s getting dark at 7pm, the networks have concluded their endless broadcasting of meaningless NFL preseason games and, for you Steely Dan fans out there, the Wolverine is on its way towards Annandale.

Which means, summer is almost over.


There’s been plenty of news posted on The Daily Payoff during the past two months but maybe, like me, you’ve been preoccupied, reading those trashy paperback novels, listening to the sounds of summer at the beach or watching the Red Sox stumble to another last place finish.

To be sure you’re up-to-speed, I’m shaking the sand out of the beach chair and my reporter’s notebook to review a few important occurrences which took place during the past two months while we were all Gone Fishin’.

1. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah took the track at Monmouth Park for The Haskell and did not disappoint a New Jersey record 60, 983 horse racing fans who turned out to see the champ continue his winning ways after a 58-day lay-off from the historic win at the Belmont Stakes. Pharoah then was saddled up for The Travers at Saratoga and the track’s reputation as the “Graveyard of Champions” remained intact as longshot “Keen Ice” upset the triple crown winner. On October 31, all eyes will be on American Pharoah at the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland which is expected to be the colt’s last race before heading out to stud and a cool $150,000 per pop. What a horse! What a life!

2. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) declined jurisdiction over the plight of Northwestern University football players seeking to register as a union. The unanimous decision by the NLRB avoided involvement in the hot potato of “student athlete” rights as they pertain to the NCAA, but it noted the ruling pertained to State-run universities and did not address private schools. The issue of paying collegiate players to play remains a possibility and the case it likely to be appealed to Federal Court.

3. Speaking of Federal cases, DeflateGate was resolved, at least temporarily, when Judge Richard Berman of the US Federal Court, Southern District of New York vacated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. The judge also took the NFL to task on various procedures of its flimsy Wells Report and subsequent hearing before “Cop-Judge-Jury” Commissioner Roger Goodell. Remember, it all began on January 18, 2015 and could have been resolved by January 20 with some foresight by the NFL and the Patriots. Overall, the entire process has been a colossal waste of time and, ultimately tax-payers money. While it’s now subject to the NFL’s appeal, the entire ridiculous fairytale was possibly a giant smoke-screen left to cover the NFL’s more problematic player image headlines, like Ray Rice and several other domestic violence cases.

4. Although dozens of popular and admirable athletes, executives and administrators have passed away in 2015, some taken far too early, it’s important to recognize the passing of former NY Giants star Frank Gifford. Known to so many as the chiseled and competent anchor of Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1998, Gifford passed away from natural causes on August 9th, a week before his 85th birthday. He was lauded for his pioneering role in transitioning from athlete to broadcaster. Rest in Peace to Giff.

5. Before the 2015 NFL season kicks-off, the two industry leaders of Daily Fantasy Sports, Draft Kings and Fan Duel, will have spent a combined $110 million dollars – just on TV ads, with a reported $86.2 million attributed to Draft Kings, according to combined reports by and Kantar Media. Those figures do not – repeat NOT – include the millions spent on radio, digital and traditional billboard and print advertising deals. As the popular and DFS friendly NFL season kicks-off on September 10 and continues with its full schedule on September 13, the barrage of advertising done by Draft Kings and Fan Duel, already ubiquitous, will reach spending levels only approached in prior years by the beer companies. Jason Robbins, CEO of Draft Kings, and Nigel Eccles, the head of Fan Duel, can both be crowned as the most powerful men in sports in 2015.

6. On August 25, the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the State of New Jersey to uphold prior verdicts that NJ’s plans to authorize sports betting were a violation of the federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The court’s ruling points any future movement in the legalization of sports betting to Congress. Vocal NJ State Senator Ray Lesniak will need to ramp up efforts at the Congressional level, not via his own’s state government, to make any further progress. In the past, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who opposed the efforts in NJ, has written that he and the league support a federally legislated and regulated law to allow sports gambling. The late August ruling will shelve the issue for years to come, unless you believe Congress can actually get something done?

7. Boston 2024 is no longer. Since I dedicated an entire column to the issue on July 8, I will spare readers from past details of Boston’s inept bid and the politics surrounding every decision. Instead, I must note the lost opportunity of hosting an Olympic Games has most Boston and Massachusetts residents singing “Hallelujah,” while some of us wonder if our generation will accomplish anything of significance or just continue to complain about everything and do nothing? The US Olympic Committee and the City of Los Angeles quickly moved forward and have plans to nominate LA as a potential host of the 2024 Games, but the City of Angels will face very stiff competition from the likes of Rome and Paris for the IOC’s blessing to host the youth of the world in 2024. My money is on Paris.

New York Lottery Winners Celebrate

Two Westchester COunty, NY, men who scored big on scratch-off tickets claimed their prizes on Tuesday from the New York Lottery.

Antone Samarneh of Yonkers, a produce manager at an A&P supermarket in Greenburgh, bought his $3 million jackpot Supercash scratch-off ticket from a vending machine in the store at the end of his shift. Haverstraw resident John Leger hit the $1 million top prize on a New York Poker scratch-off game he bought at Valcrest Stationery in Spring Valley.

View Original Source:

Yahoo’s Strategic Play Takes A Kick At DraftKings

By @TheDailyPayoff

Yahoo’s latest move could get them a leg up on DraftKings in the pay fantasy soccer space.

Last month Yahoo announced and then launched its daily pay fantasy platform, with an eye on using its deep roots in fantasy to take some of the larger space away from rivals Fan Duel and DraftKings. The move is aimed at carving its own piece in what is hoped to be a large daily pie as we move closer to the start of the lucrative NFL season.

However an interesting twist, reported by Darren Heitner of Forbes on Monday, could give a glimpse into another area which has suddenly become hot in the pay fantasy space, soccer.

Heitner reports that Mondogoal, the company with an established gambling license and growing ties in European soccer pay fantasy, has entered into a revenue sharing partnership to operate Yahoo’s pay soccer fantasy platform when European soccer gets going later this month. The strategic move, according to the story, put Yahoo immediately into the global soccer game ahead of DraftKings, who only recently applied for the required gambling license to operate in the UK.

It is a smart, quick strategic partnership that could score huge traffic for Mondogoal and their existing partnerships with clubs like Liverpool, Chelsea and AS Roma, and it gives Yahoo a much-needed operational partner to operate a game in a sport they don’t have a platform for, while they continue to push the already lucrative NFL and coming NBA market where they already have traction in the States.

Heitner’s full story can be seen at

American Pharoah’s Jockey Victor Espinoza Greeting Fans Tonight

AmericanPharoahRebelStakes2015CP225By @TheDailyPayoff

Fresh off a stirring victory at the Haskell Invitation Sunday, American Pharoah jockey Victor Espinoza will meet and greet fans tonight at Steiner Sports headquarters in New Rochelle.
Espinoza, who rode the Triple Crown winner to victory Sunday at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, just signed an exclusive deal with Steiner, according to Steiner and will spend about two hours starting at 6:30 pm , EST Monday

VIP Packages are priced at $199‎,‎ ‎including two tickets to the Q and A discussion, a photo with the jockey, and a signed 8×10 photograph.
For information and tickets, please call 914-307-1065 or email [email protected] .

“The historic performance was one for the ages, and we are thrilled to be able to give fans and corporate clients the chance to preserve this memory that will last a lifetime first hand,” said Steiner. “The last time there was a Triple Crown champion, I was a student at Syracuse, Jimmy Carter was president, and the cell phone hadn’t been invented,” he added. “To give some historical perspective, Kobe Bryant, Usher, Manny Pacquaio and Ashton Kutcher were all born that year. It was a long time ago.”

Ice Bucket Challenge Founders Kick Off New Effort At Yonkers

By @TheDailyPayoff

A year after the viral video Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon swept the nation, the co-founders of the charitable stunt will attempt to re-ignite the movement at Yonkers Raceway in Westchester, NY.

Co-founders Pat Quinn of Yonkers, NY and Pete Frates of Boston, MA, both ALS patients, saw their idea translate into millions of copycat videos and millions of dollars in donations toward a cure for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

They will join Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, City Council President Liam McLaughlin and Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway trackside on Sunday, August 2. Quinn will lead participants in a simultaneous ice bucket challenge to reignite the viral social media movement through the month of August to benefit ALS research. The first 1,000 participants will receive a free 2015 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge t-shirt courtesy of Empire City Casino.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano

For those unfamiliar with the process, a person dumps a bucket of ice and water over his or her head, challenging three friends to either do the same, donate to the ALS charity of their choice, or both. To date, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated more than $220 million in donations for ALS-oriented nonprofits, according to Yonkers Raceway officials.
Many of those donations have been invested or allocated to support new ALS research efforts, increased advocacy, and expanded and improved local care and services for people diagnosed with ALS, their families, and care providers.

“Pat Quinn’s fight and determination to combat this horrible disease has been nothing short of inspirational,” said Spano. “With Pat as our fearless leader, the City of Yonkers hopes to recharge the energy we all felt last summer as part of the Ice Bucket Challenge. We encourage any and all to join us on August 2 so we can continue to make strides in finding a cure to ALS.”

Tim Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, said the casino and track were proud to be associated with the event.
“Having lost my uncle, Fr. Silas Rooney, to this disease my family is all too familiar with its devastating effects. Efforts to raise awareness and research funds are vital and must continue.”

Quinn expressed his gratitude to the Yonkers community as a whole for their support. ” We are now living by the mantra, ‘Every August Until A Cure’. Although last summer did wonders for our battle, we still have no treatment. We still have no cure.”

Anyone interested in registering to participate in the challenge can visit Participants will be provided a bucket donated by Home Depot, ice and water. The afternoon also will feature music and entertainment for all to enjoy.

The Double Standard in Sports and Gambling

By Terry Lyons @terrylyons, Contributing columnist @TheDailyPayoff

The landscape is riddled with double standards, hypocrisy, deceit and public posturing. No, we’re not calling out the politicians and law-makers, we’re talking about sports and sports gambling.
The North American sports industry has a lot of different policies on gambling. Let’s list a few.
There’s a policy for sports gambling in Nevada.
There are federal policies for Delaware, Montana and Oregon that allow for lottery-type games and parlay tickets. There was a similar policy for New Jersey, but state legislators failed to move on that loophole back in 1992 and are now trying to carve out an entire new approach for sports wagering while they continue to offer other forms of gambling and poker-play online to Jersey residents and in-the-flesh in Atlantic City.
There are policies for horse racing. There are policies for Off Track Betting parlors affiliated with horse racing.
There are policies for Native American tribal casinos.
There are different policies for many of the Canadian provinces, some of which have NBA or NHL teams and many which offer parlay wagering similar to offerings in Delaware.
There are policies for international games played, ever so frequently, in London, Mexico and other global destinations by the major North American sports leagues.
There are policies for international play where the Man United’s, Real Madrid’s and FC Barcelona’s along with the FIFA’s and FIBA’s of the world all have top-level bookmaker sponsorships with fully established and, in many cases, public companies like William Hill or BWIN.
There are policies for players.
There are policies for coaches and managers.
There are policies for front office and league personnel.
Some of those very policies drift over to the fantasy sports world where the leagues, their teams and broadcast outlets are making bold and strategic moves to cash in on the craze. The message conveyed is that it’s quite all right to take equity positions, rake in tons of sponsorship dollars, create fantasy gaming lounges and signage, but it’s hands-off for the players, coaches and office-workers.
I’m okay with that. In many cases, contest rules call for employees and their immediate families to refrain from entering the contests to allow the paying customers every possible chance of winning the big prizes without so much as a doubt that an “insider” would have access to the same jackpot.
But here is where the hypocrisy train leaves the station.
For one New York minute, don’t you think the owners, trainers, grooms and jockeys, roaming the back-stretch, have a few bucks on the races?
And, it’s not just horse racing we’re focusing on, here.
It’s perfectly acceptable for professional and amateur golfers to put down a few bucks on practice rounds or trick shots and nobody thinks twice. All in fun, and usually for stakes as low as $1 or maybe as high as $20, Phil Mickelson will have the gallery roaring with laughter on a missed “up and down,” as he did last August at the Barclays Championship in New Jersey.
While Mickelson’s antics with the fans, surely done all in fun, are no different than what takes place on nearly every weekend, on every hole of every golf course in the land, his more – shall we say – aggressive gambling on the NFL and other sports, done legally in Las Vegas, might be of more concern.
Why is Pete Rose vilified for his gambling on baseball and other sports, but Mickelson and Floyd Mayweather are beloved for their frequently boasts about a big hauls in Vegas on specific games or a successful futures bet?
Why can Maurice Jones-Drew be the voice of Fantasy Radio on Sirius XM satellite radio one day but Tony Romo and a group of NFL players were not able to attend a fantasy sports convention organized by a Vegas hotel promoter? Meanwhile, by the way, the NBA Summer League, USA Basketball training camp and the league meetings were putting up the tents at the Wynn Resort.
When basketball’s World Cup or the Olympics roll around, FIBA’s official sponsor BWIN will be taking action on the game in all corners of the earth, sans the almighty U.S.of A.Come this September 20th, BWIN will be taking wagers on the European Championship (qualifier for the 2016 Rio Summer Games) where pros and amateurs roam the courts, but should  someone mention wagering on college basketball-aged players in North America and ghosts of Henry Hill will surely hunt you down and haunt your Uncle Paulie.
At least, the NBA’s progressive Commissioner Adam Silver has come out to publicly state his long-range viewpoint and his desire to properly prepare for and regulate gaming, preferably on a Federal level rather than going State-by-State or Province-by-Province (in Canada) with different laws on the books. Silver’s NBA made a strategic equity play to back DFS provider Fan Duel and many sports Venture Capital funds – some of the coffers backed by team owners in all of the sports – are lining up for strategic plays in gaming, igaming and tech.
Isn’t it time for the hypocrisy to end? Isn’t it time for the commissioners of the four major pro sports of North America to come to terms with the issue, following Silver’s giant-step lead from his self-penned article in the New York Times? Isn’t the facade of DFS gaming just the taxiway to the promised land of full-scale sports wagering worldwide?
In a truly global economy, shouldn’t the gaming laws of the United States and Canada reflect the laws of Europe, Asia, South America and Australia?
Don’t bet on it happening anytime real soon.

Steve Wynn’s Journey in Massachusetts

By @TheDailyPayoff

In case you missed it, Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung wrote a wickedly sharp piece this week describing casino mogul Steve Wynn’s odyssey of trying to get approval to build a $1.7 billion casino in Everett, MA.
As Leung points out, politics is a hard play in Massachusetts.
Read to the end. The kicker is good.

View the original source:

Daily Fantasy: Is Simpler Better?

By Joe Favorito @JoeFav @TheDailyPayoff

With Yahoo moving heavily into the daily pay fantasy space to challenge market leaders DraftKings and Fan Duel, the rumors swirl that other big media companies will follow suit to expand their fantasy offerings at some point,.
But the question still remains over market size; especially growing the market size vs. splitting up the existing pie continue to exist.
Yahoo’s move into the pay fantasy space makes sense because of the time its executives have already spent in the traditional fantasy business and their extensive work in search over the years that my give them insight into where and who to engage. If it can translate those casual searchers already on their platform into engaged fantasy players who can now win cash, their business grows.

However the one key factor that all these platforms need, and the one factor that remains a possibility for smaller players, is simplicity. The casual fan remains to see pay fantasy as a daunting task. No time to understand or plan for large drafts and to do research, especially for baseball, mean that simple, almost lottery-type games that translate easily to a mobile environment, might be the golden opportunity.

“The ‘casual’ fan wants simplicity so that they can participate in fantasy football contests. The two big players are far from simple and cater to the avid, GM type fan,” said Chris Johnson, founder of another startup in the space, Top3 Fantasy Sports,, which will launch this fall around the NFL season. “The ‘casual’ US fan base is gigantic, however, all of the games on the market are all similar in nature, caps, trades, waivers, etc. Fans are clamoring for simplicity and Top3 has created it. Top3 eliminates all of the confusion and complexity.”

Still that lack of complexity needs marketing to break through the clutter, and although Johnson understands that louder draws the attention in marketing, he still sees that the growing pie, especially around big events, may migrate to simple games. Those games are attractive when fans can spend a little, win a lot, and not have to be distracted for more than minutes at a time.

“Select which QB you believe will score the most fantasy points on any given Sunday wins a big cash prize,” he added. “Like fans do for the Kentucky Derby, easy as 1.2.3. Select based on matchups, your favorite team or whatever suits your fancy and have fun! No need to have a PHD to join.”

Simpler the better, is what Johnson and many smaller challengers like DraftPot and others are banking on, literally. Will the big media companies making the noise also go that route more deeply, or will their marketing noise grow the pie for all. That will be the million dollar business challenge.

Vegas Everyone? NBA Team Could Join NHL in Desert

By Joe Favorito @JoeFav @TheDailyPayoff

Later this week the basketball world will converge on Las Vegas for the annual NBA Simmer League, the annual showcase for unsigned and recently drafted talent.

Hundreds of media, agents and players will descend for two weeks of competition.

However according to a report in the Milwaukee Business Journal this week, The Summer League might not be the only time the NBA goes into the desert before too long. With a new arena on the horizon and millions of dollars on the line, the Milwaukee Bucks have mentioned getting into the Vegas mix should the state of Wisconsin continue to drag its heels on a new arena for the team.

Speaking to state lawmakers on Monday, Bucks president Peter Feigin had a pretty ominous warning should the team not get the desired arena it has been seeking for some time now:

Per the report: “Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin told Wisconsin lawmakers Monday that time was of the essence in approving $250 million in public funding for the proposed arena in downtown Milwaukee or the NBA will move the team to another city. At an informational hearing held by the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, Feigin said the Bucks owners’ purchase agreement for the team includes a provision that construction of a new arena start in 2015. If that does not occur, he said the NBA will buy back the team for a $25 million profit and move them to “Las Vegas or Seattle.”

The Bucks, suddenly one of the NBA’s hottest teams, have been searching for new solutions for the aging BMO Harris Bradley Center for some time, and Feigin, a former Knicks executive, said the team needed to start construction by October or November to avoid the NBA starting a process of seeking buyers for the team. The team’s lease at the BMO Harris Bradley Center expires in 2017.

The demands come at an interesting time for Las Vegas. With talk constant that the city will either receive an NHL expansion franchise or have a team like the Phoenix Coyotes relocate, Vegas as a professional sports destination may actually becoming more real than just the home of the AFL Las Vegas Outlaws before long.

In the mix for teams is how legal sports wagering will be handled in the state. In past years when games were played in the state, the traditional sports books suspended lines on those games. The Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz each played home games at the Thomas and Mack Center for years, and when they did, no line was posted as part of the agreement. Similarly, lines for home University of Nevada Las Vegas basketball and football games have been pulled over the years when the teams were in state.

However this past year the AFL Outlaws not only had lines on their games, but they welcomed live online gambling into the mix as part of their fan experience.

With pay fantasy expanding and both the NHL and the NBA supporting both pay fantasy and the eventual nationwide legalization of sports betting, having franchises in Las Vegas could provide even bigger revenue stream as the process continues to evolve. Those franchises could become models for how legal sports betting could work once Federal law changes.

“Control of all forms of content, whether it is broadcast, digital or actual games is more vital to success than ever before, and with Las Vegas it seems more and more like the distribution of content, combined with a new state of the art building is becoming more than attractive to teams in at least two leagues,” said Dan Cohen, SVP, Americas at MP & Silva, one of the world’s leading sports media companies. “It used to be Las Vegas was a city that had all kinds of negative baggage for sports, now because of the changing landscape in the digital sports and fantasy space, it has become not just attractive but a hub of real conversation when expansion or relocation comes up. Nevada is no longer some fairy tale for professional sports, it is becoming a reality.”

Whether that reality happens in a year or five years remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure; “Sin City” appears to be an open and willing partner for professional sports teams, and now once one comes, others may follow.

Third $100K Jackpot Winner at Empire City Casino

By @TheDailyPayoff

Yonkers, New York – A third $100,000 jackpot was hit at Empire City Casino here in less than a month, as another New Jersey resident scored big.

The latest jackpot was won on July 4 by a Bergenfield, NJ, resident on the Bally’s Double Jackpot Wild slot machine, according to the casino.

The lucky six-figure win was $100,012 and registered at 7:29 pm on a $5 wager made on the $1 denomination machine. The Bergenfield resident declined to reveal his or her identity, the casino said.

On June 10 and again on June 29, Dominic Santaite of Saddle Brook, New Jersey, hit jackpots for $100,000 and $100,020, respectively, on the growingly popular Double Jackpot Wild slot machine at Empire City.

The potential biggest jackpot in Empire City history, meanwhile, continues to grow at $1,228,980 on the Wheel of Fortune Triple Stars slot machine.

Manuel Esteche of Port Chester hit ‎for $571,000 in February, breaking the previous record jackpot of $509,000 won in November by Moosue Stefern of Bergenfield, New Jersey.

Jim Rome To Deliver Keynote at Thoroughbred Owner Conference

By @TheDailyPayoff

Jim Rome, a prominent Thoroughbred owner and the host of “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio and “Jim Rome On Showtime,” will deliver the keynote address when OwnerView, The Jockey Club, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association host the second Thoroughbred Owner Conference in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in January 2016.

The conference will be held at Gulfstream Park from January 11 – 14 during the week leading up to the 45th Annual Eclipse Awards Dinner, which is scheduled for Saturday, January 16, 2016.

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The Jockey Club explained that Rome has experienced significant success campaigning horses under the name of Jungle Racing LLC. Mizdirection was a two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion and earned more than $1.7 million. Shared Belief, the Eclipse Award-winning champion 2-year-old, has won five Grade I events and 10 of 12 races overall, including the Santa Anita Handicap, and is currently ranked behind only Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the weekly NTRA National Thoroughbred Poll.

“We are honored to host a conference that will build on the success of the inaugural event last year,” said Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group’s Racing and Gaming Division. “This is an event that is both educational and enjoyable for new and long-time owners, and we are proud to host it for the first time in the days leading up to the Eclipse Award dinner.”

Gary Player, a legend in the golfing world and a long-time owner, breeder and advocate of Thoroughbred aftercare, delivered the keynote address at last year’s conference.

Conference details, including the schedule of events, online registration, host hotel information, other tourism tips, are available at

Mr. Million Dollar Fantasy Golf Winner

By @TheDailyPayoff

Million dollar Draft Kings US Open fantasy golf winner Carl Bassewitz (right) and his son, Beau, get a priceless experience, taking batting practice at Fenway Park in Boston a day after he visited the DK headquarters offices to accept ceremonial check and his winnings. Bassewitz won the $1M “Millionaire Maker” prize with a single $20 entry when Dustin Johnson three-putted the final hole at recent U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. He had picked Jordan Spieth to win over Johnson.

World Cup Fantasy Could Open Door to Olympic Fantasy

By Joe Favorito @Joefav @TheDailyPayoff

The success and proof of concept that Mondogoal achieved these past two weeks with Women’s World Cup showed that select niche mega-events can draw both dollars and attention.

DraftKings and other smaller companies have been looking to golf as a new growing platform because it is simple, mobile and can be played in and around live event. Their their million dollar winner for the US Open demonstrated a growing market not just for golfers but for millennials who may never play a four-hour round on a Saturday.

As we move closer to the one year out celebration that countries all over the world will put on for Rio, it’s interesting to start thinking about the permutations of Olympic fantasy and how it would work. New sports coming into Rio, golf especially, can easily be adapted to a pay fantasy model, and team sports like basketball are ripe for an engagement game.

Parlay the fact that the International Olympic Committee earlier this year approved legal sports books in Nevada to carry betting lines for next summer’s games, and that means that a deeper analytic dive will be made by betting houses around the world to find ways to create interest in sports like swimming and other individual sports as well. Fantasy gymnastics, anyone?

Maybe not gymnastics, as individual sports outside the mainstream may be too difficult to create an audience for. However for key team sports, and add in a growing sport like rugby which will be in the games for the first time and has a strong tie to traditional gambling play, and other mainstream team sports in the Games, and you have interesting opportunities for pay fantasy alongside traditional gambling being done legally from Las Vegas.

The interest in fantasy and gambling will not be lost on rights holder NBC as well. The recent numbers by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association show that the more fantasy play involved with sport, the more the viewer is engaged in the broadcast and all pieces that go along with engagement. Since the Olympics traditionally skew viewers that are older and more female, the goal is to find a younger and more engaged audience, and an investment in fantasy play may be smart, at least for American audience engagement for 2016.

“There is no doubt that pay fantasy is growing in engagement, the question is still how do you make it simple and appealing to a wide audience of casual fans, and there is no bigger event other than the Super Bowl that gathers casual fans like the Olympics,” said Chris Lencheski, longtime marketer and currently running the consulting business Phoenicia. “The amount of data available for the Olympics so vast, the broadcasters want more engagement, and the marketing dollars are there. While it might not be a huge playing audience for 2016, it can set the table for the future just like this Women’s World Cup game has, so it will be interesting to see who steps up to engage.”

While Yahoo has said they will make a big play in the pay fantasy space this fall, most other media companies have gone the partner route, looking for revenue share and advertising dollars from the bigger pay fantasy players thus far. Could that change if the marketplace shows an interest going forward? NBC has done a great job in creative engagement around its properties, and added engagement for the Olympics in the form of pay fantasy would be an intriguing look.

If it worked for WWC, maybe it can work for the Olympics as well.