You may have missed Saturday’s XFL semifinal between the Arlington Renegades and Houston Roughnecks. You may be surprised to learn that such teams even exist.

What shouldn’t surprise you: a lot of money changed hands with the Renegades’ upset win.

After all, this decade has seen win after win for the sports-betting industry.

  • Online sports gambling is now legal in 33 US states, with more expected to follow.

Sportsbooks generated $5.8B+ in revenue last year, escalating a bookie arms race — and enticing others to get in the game.

In one corner: DraftKings

Nearly half of bettors use DraftKings, per Variety, and the company hopes to widen its lead on the field.

  • DraftKings’ latest move is launching its own streaming service.
  • This follows partnerships with iHeartMedia and SB Nation, and a spending spree on prominent hosts for its podcast network.

In the other: FanDuel

DraftKings’ moves follow a media blitz from FanDuel, the second-largest sportsbook.

  • Last year, FanDuel rebranded cable network TVG — previously dedicated to horse racing — as FanDuel TV.
  • This month, it inked another media partner, The Ringer, to expand its original programming.

Hoping to get into the ring

Third-place bookie BetMGM recently expanded its Buffalo Wild Wings partnership.

And as the industry waits for the biggest media chip to fall — ESPN, which hasn’t solidified its betting strategy — another player has emerged.

  • Sports merchandise titan Fanatics now wants in, investing $1B to build its own betting division. Fanatics already has 95m customers in place.

The jockeying will only intensify, with sports betting projected to generate $182B by 2030 — a number calculated before every Hustle reader became a rabid, put-their-savings-on-the-line-for-each-game Renegades fan.

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