Can Fanatics earn a US sports betting podium place after latest statement of intent?


US market observers are still holding their breath to see what Fanatics will look like as a fully-fledged online sports betting operator.

A hotly anticipated launch looks to have moved one step closer after the sports merchandising giant last week applied to register the “BETFANATICS” trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The company, which is valued at $27bn, has grand ambitions in the US sports betting space for both retail and online and has assembled an all-star trading team to be led by former FanDuel CEO Matt King.

With an active database of sports-mad customers and deep pockets, commentators have tipped Fanatics to come in and shake up the status quo.

But with limited market access, having already missed out on a mobile sports wagering licence in New York, and a late start compared to its main competitors, can Fanatics really compete for a podium place in the US sports betting market?

 Red Knot Communications founder Andy Clerkson

“On Fanatics, 100% they have a shot at the big time. We have already seen consolidation in America before the market has even truly started, as there are only a fistful of companies with serious market share. So who could actually break into the top four? Fanatics has a phenomenal asset in the transactional database. It has more than 80 million customers or something which is insane, and they are all sports fans already and have all purchased something.

“I think they are going to build something new. You are not just going to see a Fanatics brand on top of a white-label solution, in my opinion. They’ve got all the tools, they’ve got the team and they’ve got time. And they’ve got money! If you look at this market now, the market access, taxation and marketing costs mean it’s frightening to compete. We’ve seen FanDuel and DraftKings benefit from their super low-cost acquisition channels with DFS. And they have still spent hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing. Anyone trying to spend just tens of millions will get swamped.”

“They’ve got all the tools, they’ve got the team and they’ve got time. And they’ve got money!”

Goodbody gaming and leisure analyst David Brohan

“If you look at the competitive landscape, you could probably say with a fair degree of certainty that FanDuel and BetMGM will be podium players with DraftKings possibly number three, but there is no guarantee. Caesars are going to be competitive, Barstool will be there at a smaller scale and then you’re going to have new entrants like Matt King’s Fanatics. I think that top three to eight position in the market is going to be very competitive, and there may be some surprises thrown up over the next couple of years.

“When Matt King was still FanDuel CEO, we found him to be extremely impressive and would regard him as one of the top executives in the space. On that basis alone, I think Fanatics must be respected. I’m not saying they will definitely be a success as there is a long history of successful non-betting companies failing to be successful as gambling companies, but I will be interested to see how they get on.”

“When Matt King was FanDuel CEO, we found him to be extremely impressive and would regard him as one of the top execs in the space.”

About the author

Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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