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Fanatics debuts new online sportsbook in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee

Fanatics Sportsbook unveils raft of features as it looks to disrupt US sports betting industry.

17 Aug 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • App available on iOS and Android
  • Loyalty programme, personalised experiences and optimised search functionality hope to enhance betting experience
  • Betting offering part of Fanatics’ efforts to build connected digital sports ecosystem

Fanatics believes it will ‘redefine the sports betting customer experience’ with the online launch of its Fanatics Sportsbook.

The digital sports platform’s betting offering has been rolled out in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee, with a dedicated mobile application available on iOS and Android after six months of beta testing. The firm says it is confident its app will perform at a similar level to other digitally native betting providers.

Fanatics has also included a loyalty programme called ‘FanCash’, which plans to reward fans with exclusive experiences. Users who earn FanCash can convert the sum dollar-for-dollar into bonus bets and these earnings can also be used to purchase team merchandise on Fanatics’ online store.

Another feature of the app is the ‘Fanatics Sportsbook Discover’ page, which aims to provide a curated and more personalised user experience. The page includes top picks such as marquee games, trending bets, promos and rewards, and aims to cut out excessive scrolling by promoting the most relevant markets to the top of the screen. In the near future, the Discover page will be personalised to the customer’s favourite teams, sports and markets.

To further aid discoverability, ‘industry-leading’ search functionality will help users find their bets faster, comprising a search bar, recent searches, autocomplete functionality, synonym/alias recognition and deep links to leagues, events and markets.

First known as a sports merchandise specialist, Fanatics has branched into a variety of different areas, including trading cards, digital collectibles and events, as it looks to diversify the business.  A connected digital sports ecosystem is championed by Fanatics as a key selling point as it seeks to become a one-stop sports shop where fans can go to a single location for team merchandise, memorabilia and betting.

The firm fended off a late bid from DraftKings to acquire Australian-based sportsbook PointsBet’s US business and Fanatics Sportsbook will integrate ‘the best parts’ of the PointsBet tech platform into its sports betting engine. Fanatics Sportsbook will also leverage PointsBet’s quantitative driven trading models from the company’s Banach Technology in its new risk and trading platform.

Markets offered by Fanatics Sportsbook include professional and college football, basketball, hockey and baseball, as well as golf, tennis, motorsports, boxing, and mixed martial arts (MMA), among others. The development and trading of sports betting markets will be done in house at Fanatics Betting and Gaming.

“After six months of beta testing, we are excited to officially launch the Fanatics Sportsbook product to the public,” said Scot McClintic, chief product officer, Fanatics Betting and Gaming.

“We are laser focused on solving pain points facing customers by offering a faster, easier, and a more rewarding sports betting experience. The strategic patience to build a product for the long-term has given us an opportunity to redefine a customer’s expectation of what a sportsbook should be. With the Fanatics Sportsbook product foundation built and wholly owned, customers should expect unparalleled speed of feature improvement, delivery, and innovation.”

SportsPro says…

Fanatics chief executive Michael Rubin (pictured above) had initially earmarked early 2023 as the launch date for the company’s sports betting product, even targeting between “15 to 20 states”. The delay is unlikely to have lowered his ambitions for Fanatics Sportsbook.

Rubin has previously said that his firm “can be the number one player in the world in that business in ten years” and that sports betting and the company’s other business segments “could be US$8 billion even in the next decade” in profits. That said, he is entering a highly competitive, consolidating market.

FanDuel and DraftKings have emerged as the biggest players so far but further competition exists from the likes of BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook. The looming autumn rebrand and rollout of ESPN Bet also adds to the mix.

Becoming market leaders has meant hefty losses along the way for FanDuel and DraftKings, particularly on marketing costs – something which played a part in WynnBet’s decision to cease operations in eight US states.

Rubin is mindful he will have to be patient and knows this will be a multi-year process. His hope is that the combination of the US’ ‘most rewarding sportsbook’ and a ‘one-of-a-kind sports ecosystem’ can tempt punters signed up to other betting platforms and those already in the Fanatics funnel.

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