And you thought Santa Claus was coming to town to alert you on top winning selections? Guess again, as ol’ Sir Charles Barkley will be making his way from the North Pole just in time for the holidays courtesy of FanDuel and TNT.
As he would say, they’re guar-on-teed!! No this is not a party joke, a bizarre dream, or a Shaq attack. The man who once regretfully admitted he once wagered through losing $10 million dollars during a ten-year span has signed with sports wagering operator FanDuel. On a mission to help alert viewers what are his best bet selections on current day NBA schedules with special focus on that evening’s TNT broadcast game.
Pick your comparison. Signing Barkley to promote gambling, giving advice and selections on-air, is like inviting Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein to host movies on the Hallmark Channel. Something just does not quite make sense there, but I suppose we would watch. The question is, would we listen to his advice?
Approaching the Fowl Line
According to the press release, Barkley has signed on with FanDuel to be an ambassador and spokesperson for the giant gaming company. A major part of that will include the NBA’s most popular analyst making predictions and 'his guarantees' for that night's NBA games, also coinciding with those games appearing on the TNT telecast.
As part of the new arrangement, Bleacher Report will also produce content with sports betting elements earlier in the day of a TNT-NBA broadcast. Additionally, Barkley will be scheduled to appear on FanDuel advertising, social media, and podcasts, along with Turner Sports spots promoting the company's free-to-play contests as part of his contract.
He currently serves as an analyst for TNT’s "Inside the NBA" and also "The NBA on TNT" in contract with Turner Sports. FanDuel also has an agreement with Turner Sports, acting as the exclusive sportsbook for NBA programming, covering their networks.
Never shy or in a loss for unique words, the popular Barkley had this to say about securing his new professional prognosticator role:
"The Inside the NBA crew and I really enjoyed working with FanDuel during last season's playoffs and I'm grateful to now be their brand ambassador. FanDuel helps our show be more informative and interactive, and they do it in a way that any knucklehead could understand. So even if your team is down by 20 in the fourth quarter, with FanDuel you’ll have a reason to keep watching."
Take that Al Michaels and Brent Musburger. No veiled or hidden references toward gambling for the 'Round Mound of Rebound'. He spells it right out . . . no matter what, any "knucklehead" like you or I will stay locked-in a game for an entire two and a half hours to see if we covered the spread.
Playing the Full Court
This would be the first time FanDuel has approached this type of programming on a national level after working with several sports teams on a local level. Projecting into early 2021, it appears only 21 U.S. states will have legalized sports betting with as many three to five other states having potential to join the list next year.
As a national TNT broadcast, FanDuel promo opportunities cannot be obtained by fans/bettors in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta . . . you get the idea. From a future strategic standpoint, it might make sense but from a valuation perspective, how would FD be obtaining their maximum dollars' worth?
In fact, it might be a very welcome free opportunity for the list of top online sportsbooks to match potential 'Barkley Boosts' and other announced FanDuel promotions planned for TNT broadcasts. With no pending sports wagering currently planned in several large cities and states for 2021, it either could cause frustration or welcome knowledge for sports bettors learning to utilize all competitive sources.
Drawing the Fine Betting Line
Please keep in mind that some boundaries were drawn up by all sides in putting together this agreement. Certainly, by the NBA, along with TNT. Will Funk, executive vice president of sports partnerships and branded content at Turner Sports offered up this suggestion:
"When Charles offers a guarantee or a prediction, you will see significant banter with his co-hosts and then what you will see following that as the game begins on social media there will be a discussion of what he said and what his predictions are. This is a natural extension of what he already does within the show and it's completely and totally organic."
Translated, that means that Barkley is not formally encouraging you to go out and bet the team he recommends, knowing Shaquille O'Neal or maybe Kenny Smith may shoot him down. Don't hold him to his guarantee of Celtics -2.5 or definitely play over the 108 total in the second half.
The best bet is Sir Charles will never be stuck for an opinion nor a pick on any game this upcoming NBA season. As for escaping his controversial gambling past, my favorite quote of Barkley’s is "I could never run for political office, as some people have skeletons in the closet, I have a graveyard."
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.