FanDuel, The Ringer Launch New Shows Led by Cousin Sal Iacono

FanDuel is adding new programming choices to its own media platforms.

The sports-wagering company and the Spotify-backed sports-media outlet The Ringer will launch two new programs featuring Cousin Sal Iacono, the comedian and sportswriter who may be best known for his involvement with ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (indeed, he is Kimmel’s actual cousin).

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Starting next week, Iacono will host “Cousin Sal’s Winning Weekend” every Friday at 9 a.m. eastern. The show, which kicks off September 8, focuses on gambling and previews the coming weekend of NFL and college football. On September 10, Iacono will serve as one of the hosts of “Ringer Wise Guys,” which will air Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. eastern. Iacono will hold forth with the “East Coast Bias” crew from “The Ringer Gambling Show” — John Jastremski, Joe House and Raheem Palmer. The group will examine their favorite bets, parlays, teasers and props for Sunday’s NFL slate. They’ll occasionally be joined by special guests from the Ringer universe including Bill Simmons, Benjamin Solak and Sheil Kapadia. “Ringer Wise Guys” will also be simulcast live on FanDuel TV’s official YouTube channel.

“Sal and I have been working closely together since 2002, and it’s gone better than just about any Hollywood marriage with the possible exception of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick,” says Bill Simmons, founder of The Ringer, in a prepared statement. “It’s going to be great to do even more stuff with him and a wonderful creative partner like FanDuel.”

The alliance speaks to some of the ambitions FanDuel has in trying to create its own content for its customer base, rather than simply placing ads for its services in other companies’ media. FanDuel TV, launched nearly a year ago on the cable network once known as TVG that focused largely on horse racing, has seen viewers grow 31% over the past year across paid streaming services, says Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel’s chief commercial officer, in an interview. The company is working to broaden its content offerings, he says, in a bid to attract younger crowds focused more intently on wagering, while remaining mindful that a good chunk of FanDuel’s linear audience remains interested in horse racing.

“We have done some light content with them through the weekdays in some testing formats, with different folks from around The Ringer network,” says Raffensperger of the Ringer alliance. “We have liked what we have seen. This is a pretty meaningful expansion of that.” FanDuel TV is also investing more in its morning show led by Kay Adams and “Run It Back,” a program focused on basketball. In some cases, says the executive, FanDuel will make its TV programs available on YouTube. A new FanDuel FAST channel is slated to launch in September, he says.

The Ringer will contribute to FanDuel’s content efforts in other ways. On September 4 and 5 at 9 a.m. eastern FanDuel TV will air two special editions of The Ringer’s “The Bill Simmons Podcast” featuring Simmons and Cousin Sal’s annual pre-season “over/under” predictions for each NFL team. FanDuel TV will air another special edition of the “The Bill Simmons Podcast” during the week of Super Bowl LVII.

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