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ClutchBet, the US-facing brand of ASX-listed betting operator BlueBet, has launched a unique new product exclusively for customers in Iowa.

ClutchClash is a head-to-head player parlay game which allows bettors to pit athletes against one another using player prop markets in any eligible NFL or NBA game.

For NFL betting, players will be able to create a parlay bet around self-curated head-to-head player match-ups – even if the players in question are not competing against each other in the same game.

For NBA games, ClutchClash player match-up bets will be available only within a single game, but the match-ups can be created between two players on the same team and added to a same-game parlay.

“ClutchClash is yet another example of ClutchBet’s commitment to product innovation and providing Iowans with a world-class wagering experience,” said ClutchBet SVP of marketing Sean Phinney.

“ClutchBet players in Iowa now have a world exclusive sports betting product to enjoy, along with unique and locally focused promotions and offers.”

ClutchBet SVP of marketing Sean Phinney: “ClutchClash is yet another example of ClutchBet’s commitment to product innovation and providing Iowans with a world-class wagering experience.” 

Earlier this week, ClutchBet operator BlueBet announced a strategic investment worth $500,000 in free-to-play sports gamification platform provider Low6.

UK-based Low6 produces free-to-play and fantasy games to help engage audiences for sports franchises, betting operators and media outlets. It is the operator of the UltimateFan fantasy app and other titles including partner-branded Pick ’Em-style games.

BlueBet’s investment in the firm was further evidence of its commitment to adding new and innovative products to its portfolio, the operator said.

ClutchBet has been live in Iowa since August this year, and is currently working towards additional state launches in Colorado, Louisiana and Indiana.

In Q3, the operator derived the vast majority of its revenue from thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing, with around 15% of revenue coming from other sports.

The brand is live in Iowa in partnership with the Q Casino and its owner, the Dubuque Racing Association.

Iowa is home to a highly competitive online sports betting market, with more active operators than any other state, except for Colorado and New Jersey.

Last week, Kindred Group announced it would withdraw its Unibet brand from the market having failed to carve out significant market share. Of the more than $200m wagered by Iowans in September, Kindred handled just $166,000 of that total. 

Developments in the state may serve as a precursor of what is to come in the future of US online sports betting, with the so-called “big four” operators dominating proceedings and the smaller, more focused brands fighting to secure a slice of the remaining action.

Sportradar will power expanded FanDuel NBA betting options under an extended partnership, the two groups announced Wednesday.

One of the major US sports betting data suppliers, Sportradar will give FanDuel “official NBA data and supplementary betting services,” according to a release from the two companies. The deal, which builds off an existing data service arrangement, will take effect beginning with next year’s NBA season and will run through the end of the 2030-2031 campaign.

The deal will give FanDuel access to Sportradar’s exclusive array of player tracking data, which the sportsbook can in turn use for expanded betting options. Already the nation’s largest sportsbook operator by gross gaming revenue market share, this deal will give FanDuel more options on individual player prop bets as well as single-game parlays.

FanDuel is the first American operator to utilize Sportradar’s official NBA data, according to the release. The data provider will give FanDuel access to “the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of betting products” including live match trackers and betting widgets.

“FanDuel’s top priority is to provide a superior product experience to our customers. As we forged this deal, it was critically important that our commitment to NBA basketball and its official data be tied to substantial reinvestment in product innovation and enhancements that will ensure FanDuel retains a market-leading NBA offering,” said FanDuel President Christian Genetski in a statement.

“We’re excited to continue our long-term relationship with Sportradar, as their comprehensive data is a critical element to a successful customer experience, and one we now have long-term stability with moving forward,” Genetski said.

The deal also grants FanDuel access to Sportradar’s proprietary Live Channel Trading (LCT) product. LCT will help FanDuel bolster its in-play offerings by using its back-end live steaming system that can provide audiovisual game feeds up to eight seconds faster than traditional television broadcasts, according to Sportradar.

FanDuel has in part attributed its success to its single-game parlays, which allow bettors to string together multiple bets including totals, spreads, moneylines and individual player props into a single wager. These present higher potential payouts for bettors but greater odds for operators; the operator margin on single-game parlay bets is several times higher than on individual wagers.

FanDuel President Christian Genetski: “We’re excited to continue our long-term relationship with Sportradar, as their comprehensive data is a critical element to a successful customer experience, and one we now have long-term stability with moving forward.”

FanDuel, a subsidiary of European gaming giant Flutter Entertainment, projects to have slightly over half of US online sports betting gross gaming revenue between all legal US sportsbooks. FanDuel is the only US sportsbook to post a profitable quarter since the Supreme Court struck down the federal wagering ban in May 2018.

For Sportradar, the deal strengthens its ties with the US sports betting market leader and could pave the way for similar moves with other major US sports leagues and sportsbooks. Sportradar lost its exclusive partnership with the NFL, the most wagered-upon American sports league, but has bolstered its offerings with the NBA, as well as NHL, MLB and a host of other prominent sports leagues.

Sportradar’s data rights partnership with the NBA makes it the exclusive worldwide provider of NBA, WNBA and NBA G League Data beginning with the 2023-2024 season and running through the conclusion of the 2031 season.

“As the largest operator in North America, FanDuel is an exceptional partner, trusting in our products and services to help define their market differentiation,” said Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl in a statement.

“We are thrilled to further expand our relationship with FanDuel in a manner that will evolve and grow the skyrocketing market for sports betting in the US while continuing to monetize our long-term partnership with the NBA,” Koerl said. “This deal demonstrates the value of our strategy in delivering products and services on top of data rights.”

Fanatics is edging closer to a US sports betting launch after CEO Michael Rubin sold his stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Rubin held an approximate 10% stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment – the parent company of both franchises – but is selling to avoid any conflict of interest or integrity.

For example, NBA rules prohibit team owners from operating gambling platforms.

Rubin said: “As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers.

“With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year – which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally – and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues.

“Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan,” he added.

A statement on the Fanatics official website said: “Michael spent more than a decade as a partner of the Philadelphia 76ers before selling his ownership stake in the team in June 2022 to focus his efforts on Fanatics’ expansion across the broader sports ecosystem.”

Thank you, @sixers fans ❤️ pic.twitter.com/46YX0Zoahm

— Michael Rubin (@michaelrubin) June 22, 2022

Fanatics is a sports merchandising company worth in excess of $25bn. It boasts an active user base of more than 80 million sports fans.

The company has filed a trademark for the BETFANATICS brand and assembled a high-profile executive team led by former FanDuel CEO Matt King.

The brand is expected to do battle with the likes of FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM in the US market, but has been looking for the appropriate technology and market access partner.

According to a CNBC exclusive, Fanatics may have found that partner in German betting operator Tipico.

Tipico already has a small presence in the US already via market access deals in New Jersey and Colorado and is the market leader for online sports betting in its domestic Germany.

We kind of like this. Tipico gets Fanatics U.S. market access, OSB + iGaming tech, and some European talent. Germany exposure, per @gamblinglamb, could also be upside-generative (rather than simply peeled off). h/t @astraffon for the article link: https://t.co/oT2UB3Uj32

— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) June 23, 2022

Crucially, the company is run on proprietary betting technology, which Fanatics is currently lacking.

CNBC said a deal has not yet been reached, with the two parties at an impasse over price.

Tipico is privately owned. Private equity giant CVC acquired a majority stake in the business in 2016, which valued the company at around €1.4bn.

Photo: Flickr/Kimberly White for TechCrunch

Genius Sports endured a volatile day of public trading on 23 November after publishing its Q3 2021 financial results.

Annual third-quarter revenue growth of more than 70% to $69.1m could not prevent the firm’s share price from falling by 30%, much to the bewilderment of some investors after what appeared to be a largely positive trading update.

As well as the numbers, we picked through the best bits of management’s Q3 earnings call to bring you the key talking points as analysts put questions to CEO Mark Locke and his C-level colleagues on behalf of investors.

NFL contract holds the key to success

Genius pulled off a major coup in April of this year by securing a six-year data rights deal for well in excess of $100m with the NFL, replacing rival Sportradar in the process.

Locke revealed that 97% of NFL bets placed in the US are now powered by Genius Sports – a number not to be sniffed at, although it is only 11 weeks in to the six-year agreement which is only likely to be cash generative from 2022.

Lifting the lid on the commercial contract for the first time, the Genius CEO said these types of deals are constructed with minimum revenue guarantees to protect against mitigating circumstances and potential headwinds.

“In periods with lower holds and significant promotional spend like we have seen recently, these deal structures give our revenues some protection,” said Locke, adding that commercial agreements like the NFL contract will be vital if the business is to achieve its long-term aim of bringing home a massive 5% take rate of overall global gaming revenue.

When asked if 5% of overall GGR was too ambitious an estimate, Locke insisted he was comfortable with the guidance and that it was “eminently achievable” on a long-term basis, adding the business was already making progress ahead of expectations.

Jack of all trades

Genius Sports created a name for itself in the online gambling industry as an official sports data supplier to major operators.

However, since going public on the New York Stock Exchange in April, it has flexed its widened purse strings in a bid to diversify its portfolio and has made no secret of its aim to become a multi-faceted sports entertainment company.

The undisclosed acquisitions of Spirable and free-to-play gaming, betting and social media firm FanHub, combined with a $200m transaction for LA-based data tracking provider Second Spectrum, are evidence of that.

The company said its customers were committed to spending an initial minimum of $125m across its media products, including FanHub and Spirable, over three-year terms, while some partners would spend the majority of their first-year commitments within the first four months of a contract.

“I would like to conclude my remarks by clearly defining our vision for the future,” said Locke. “Our goal is to create a business that takes a slice of every sports-related transaction globally, whether that’s a bet, a ticket sale, a live stream, a purchase of a hotdog in a stadium, or a Jersey sale.

“Genius exists to provide the technology platform that both powers these transactions and enables true global fan monetisation,” he added.

Ball in your court

While the Nasdaq-listed firm hailed its agreement with the NFL, it failed to reach a similar exclusive agreement with the NBA.

The basketball rights will be exclusively handed to fellow public rival Sportradar from the 2023-24 season while the NBA has taken up a 3% equity stake in Sportradar over the next 10 years.

“Clearly the NBA is important and we were a part of that process,” admitted Genius Sports chief commercial officer Jack Davidson. “Having the NBA as part of our stable of rights would clearly be good for the business.”

Trying to bring the ball back to their court, Davidson said the NBA was not prepared to offer the same access to the media inventory or its commercial assets as the NFL.

“That stuff just wasn’t on the table, and that made it quite difficult from our point of view,” said Davidson.

Finally, to appease investors, he added that betting revenues from the NBA were “extremely limited” and that the impact of not winning that exclusive deal was “very small” at present.