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James Holzhauer, the professional gambler who became a household name thanks to a historic run on Jeopardy!, is set to make his writing debut for The Athletic. He is expected to write a sports betting column.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post first reported the news Monday evening, with Awful Announcing confirming the news. The sports media news site added that the man known as “Jeopardy James” will post his first article on Tuesday.
Two years ago, Holzhauer gained acclaim as he won 32 straight games on the popular television game show. While Ken Jennings holds the record winning streak at 74 games, Holzhauer nearly caught him in all-time regular-season earnings, $2.52 million to $2.46 million.
That’s because, according to the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame website, Holzhauer holds all of the spots in the top 10 all-time single-game winnings category. He’s the only contestant to ever break $90,000 in winnings during a game, and his highest total was $131,127 – one of six times he earned more than $100,000.
It got to the point where offshore sportsbooks offered odds on his performance.
Even after his run ended, Holzhauer has maintained a celebrity status, appearing on special Jeopardy! tournaments and other game shows. He’s also active on Twitter.
Jeopardy James’ Athletic Appeal
A regular sports betting column at The Athletic from the professional gambler would be the latest high-profile move for the subscription-based online sports news hub. It features national and focused regional coverage in the US, Canada, and Great Britain.
According to Crunchbase, the site’s founders have raised nearly $140 million in venture funding. Last September, executives revealed to CNBC that it finally reached the 1 million paid subscriber mark.
The sports site launched five years ago and in January announced an exclusive partnership with BetMGM.
The Athletic was built on engaging the reader and giving subscribers their money’s worth (and more),” wrote Nando Di Fino, who covers fantasy sports for the site, in an article explaining the BetMGM partnership and the newly formed sports betting section. “We built fantasy sports with the idea that you’d feel your subscription was worth it for just that section alone. We hope to do the same here.”
The Athletic posts odds on sporting events from the Entain-MGM Resorts International product and does receive an affiliate commission from subscribers who open BetMGM accounts via links in articles.
Convergence of Sports Media and Betting
As the sports betting landscape matures in the US, now more than three years after the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), sports betting operators have now focused on establishing partnerships with mainstream sports media outlets.
Last month, FanDuel announced an agreement with the Associated Press that allows the Flutter Entertainment sportsbook to be the exclusive odds provider for the wire service. In April, DraftKings announced it will be the odds provider for Dan Le Batard’s soon-to-launch Meadowlark Media.
PointsBet serves as the exclusive odds provider for NBC Sports, while ESPN has a partnership with William Hill and Caesars Entertainment. Bally’s Corp. paid Sinclair Broadcasting for the branding rights to the regional networks formerly known as Fox Sports brands.
It’s a move that makes sense for sportsbooks. Nearly half of the country now has legalized sports betting, and it helps them market to the next tier of customers, namely engaged sports fans that aren’t active or familiar with sports betting.
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