FuboTV has its sights set on sports betting.
The live TV streaming platform recently acquired Vigtory, a sports betting and iGaming company with Pennsylvania connections.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Following closing, fuboTV said it expects to launch a sportsbook before the end of the year.
Details of fuboTV and Vigtory deal
So, what else is included in the deal … and what’s fuboTV’s plan for sports betting?
Here are the key details:
- First, it will launch a free-to-play prediction game in summer 2021. Using the Balto Sports pool/bracket technology it acquired last year, the game will be available to all consumers whether or not they are fuboTV subscribers.
- That product will initially be a standalone app, then be integrated into the core streaming product.
- Then the company will launch a betting app using Vigtory technology, which will be folded into the streaming product.
- Vigtory founder Sam Rattner and co-CEO Scott Butera will also join fubo as part of the deal.
Vigtory’s Pennsylvania connections via SeventySix Capital
Rattner founded Vigtory in 2019, and SeventySix Capital backed the project. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based venture capital firm SeventySix Capital invests in innovative seed and early-stage consumer-facing tech, retail, sports and wellness companies.
In a recent interview with PlayPennsylvania, Wayne Kimmel, managing partner at SeventySix Capital, recalled the first time he met Rattner. It was at the ICE North America Digital Conference in the spring of 2019 in Boston.
Kimmel (pictured, right) served as a judge for the first ICE North America LaunchPad competition. Rattner won the competition with Line Library, a tool to standardize optimal risk transfer between sportsbook operators.
On that day, Kimmel said he and SeventySix Capital Partner Chad Stender knew they were going to find a way to work with Rattner and build something special.
“I had never seen anyone who knew so much about the industry and was so passionate,” Kimmel said of Rattner. “He’s such a nice person, and he was talking about building something that was the next next thing. We look for entrepreneurs who are passionate, smart, nice and want to do something truly game-changing.”
SeventySix Capital proceeded to invest in Vigtory, and Stender is on Vigtory’s board of directors. In addition, SeventySix Capital connected Rattner to Butera, the president of iGaming at MGM Resorts International who played a big part in launching BetMGM. He joined Vigtory as Rattner’s co-CEO in 2020.
Rattner fits right in with SeventySix Capital’s roster of digital sports entrepreneurs. He previously founded Engine Sports, a back-testing engine that gives retail sports bettors the ability to build algorithmic betting strategies within an interactive experience.
Vigtory Sportsbook boasts industry-low vig
Vigtory Sportsbook is not yet live. However, it appears to be on its way to New Jersey soon. Vigtory founders told PlayNJ that regulatory approval is complete but did not disclose a land-based partner.
The company’s name explains what it hopes sets it apart from the competition. Vig, or vigorish, is the cut bookmakers take from bets. Vigtory is boasting an industry-low vig. Also, it plans to attract bettors with analytical tools, livestreaming experiences and rewards such as tickets to games.
Vigtory also plans to offer live dealer games, poker, slots and other online table games in addition to sports betting. The app will be available on iOS and Android.
On pairing Vigtory with fuboTV, Rattner (pictured, right) commented in a press release:
“I have followed fuboTV since its launch in 2015 and am impressed that this talented team has established itself as a leader in live TV streaming. FuboTV and Vigtory share a common vision of developing great products based on great technology, all while being laser-focused on the consumer. To have the unique opportunity of integrating Vigtory’s innovative digital betting applications into livestreaming, a leading vertical in how fans consume sports, is an unprecedented opportunity in the digital gaming market.”
“Media company and sportsbook all in one”
David Gandler, co-founder and CEO, fuboTV, believes online sports betting is a complementary business to the sports-first live TV streaming platform.
In last week’s announcement about fuboTV acquiring Vigtory, he said:
“We don’t see wagering as simply an add-on product to fuboTV. Instead, we believe there is a real flywheel opportunity with streaming video content and interactivity. Our free-to-play gaming experience, which will be available to all consumers, will build further scale to fuboTV, essentially acting as another lead generator for driving subscribers to our streaming video platform and, ultimately, our sportsbook. We not only expect sports wagering to become a new line of business and source of revenue, but we also expect that it will increase user engagement on fuboTV, resulting in higher ad monetization, better subscriber retention and reduced subscriber acquisition costs.”
Gandler continued, “It will also help us solve two hurdles that challenge other media companies who want to enter the wagering market. Sam and Scott have years of experience navigating the complex gaming regulatory environment and, in fact, already have a first market access agreement completed. Second, fuboTV can leverage its own first-party user behavior data to understand our consumers’ viewing preferences, and when and how to prompt them to consider placing bets. Uniquely, fuboTV will be a media company and sportsbook all in one.”
SeventySix Capital took the bet
Two days after the acquisition, fuboTV shares were up over 35%.
$FUBO went public in October 2020 with shares at $10 apiece. According to Reuters, the IPO valued fuboTV at $620.2 million. FuboTV recently disclosed preliminary Q4 2020 results, including that it expects to have exceeded 545,000 paid subscribers in 2020, an increase of more than 72% year-over-year.
Zion Market Research estimates online sports betting will become a $155 billion industry by 2024.
Commented Kimmel on fuboTV acquiring Vigtory:
“It validates our investment thesis. We took the bet to invest in the entrepreneurs that were doing the next next thing in the sports betting industry. It’s incredibly exciting and something my partners and I are happy about.”