Yahoo strikes deal to acquire social sports betting app Wagr
Rather than working on an exchange model, the platform sets its own odds, allowing customers to bet against each other without dealing with the complexities of an exchange.
The business has previously attracted significant investment from individuals and VC firms including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Greycroft, Pear VC, the Kraft Group, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and BITKRAFT Ventures.
Yahoo’s acquisition of the firm will allow it to accelerate Yahoo Sports’ goal “to create and deliver the most compelling fantasy and gaming products,” it said.
Yahoo is primed to acquire 100% of the business, which will subsequently be fully integrated into Yahoo Sports, its sports news website which is also a popular and long standing operator of fantasy sports products.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Wagr to the Yahoo Sports family,” said Jon Shaw, SVP of Yahoo Sports.
“While we know our fantasy leagues increase fan engagement and give people something to root for, the real value is in keeping friend groups together through competition and camaraderie around the sports they love.
“Acquiring Wagr creates an immediate opportunity for us to expand into new group formats that can take engagement and friendly competition to the next level.”Wagr’s tagline is: “Challenge your friends, not the house.”
Wagr co-founder and CEO Mario Malavé added: “Yahoo Sports offers us a stage to build products that will reach millions of loyal fans that have connected over fantasy sports for decades.
“The unique combination of Yahoo’s scale and engagement creates opportunities for virtuous product loops between sports media and gaming.
“Joining Yahoo allows us to continue delivering on our mission to connect fandom to social gaming while elevating our ability to execute through expanded resources, new partnerships and technological capabilities.”
Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone, meanwhile, suggested that Wagr’s emphasis on community and social engagement in sports gaming “aligned perfectly” with Yahoo’s fantasy platform.
Wagr is currently licensed in Tennessee, although the product is no longer available after being shut down in Q4 2022.
A holding page on its website suggests the app “will be back real soon.”
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG) has therefore suggested the acquisition is about Yahoo getting its hands on Wagr’s technology before allowing users to offer bets to one another.
This could be the first step on the path towards online sports betting for Yahoo, which is owned by private equity giant Apollo Global.
EKG points out that Apollo co-head of PE David Sambur recently said on a podcast that online sports betting could be the way to monetise the Yahoo Sports user base.