Former WFAN New York afternoon host Mike Francesa has signed on as Brand Ambassador for BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com. The exclusive brand and content deal has Francesa anchoring a twice-weekly podcast and hosting a series of digital videos that will appear on the sports betting outlets’ various platforms.
Francesa will also appear at sporting events throughout the year, where he will create "on the scene" videos for sports betting fans.
The multi-year deal with Rush Street Interactive, parent company of BetRivers, has The Sports Pope paired again with Brian Monzo, who served as Francesa’s producer at WFAN, according to Barrett Sports Media, which first reported on the BetRivers partnership. Also joining the program as a guest through the MLB season is former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who was a regular guest on Francesa’s radio shows.
Legalized sports betting, and the massive ad dollars behind it, has provided new content and revenue for radio groups and podcast services and new opportunities for talent. Francesa’s successor, Craig Carton, who is a recovering gambling addict, hosts a weekend show on “The Fan” about responsible gambling sponsored by FanDuel. Former ESPN Radio host Dan Le Batard inked a three-year, $50 million deal with DraftKings for his podcasts and others developed by his Meadowlark Media venture. Former ESPN Radio morning host Mike Golic also hosts a weekly podcast for DraftKings.
It also seems to be a natural extension for Francesa, whose radio program would include his NFL picks during football season. Francesa is also an owner of a racing horse, who he hopes to run in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Francesa left WFAN New York for the second time in July 2020. He famously retired in 2017 with much fanfare, only to return to the station five months later. By the end of 2019, Francesa once again stepped down from afternoons at The Fan and kept a limited presence on the station hosting “Mike’s On” in the 6pm hour. The word, at the time of his summer of 2020 exit, was that Francesa was shifting his focus to the company’s Radio.com platform. That never really played out, and Radio.com was phased out as Entercom rebranded as Audacy.
His contract with Audacy expired at the end of 2021, allowing him to enter into the partnership with Rush Street Interactive.
Dubbed “The Sports Pope,” Francesa was inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame in 2018. He is the only sportscaster to win the National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Award for “Large Market Personality of the Year” twice.