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FuboTV buys Balto Sports to enter online sports betting market

Streaming service to use Balto’s contest automation software to launch gaming offering.

3 December 2020 Ed Dixon

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  • FuboTV confirmed plans to expand into sports gambling last month
  • Online sports wagering market expected to reach US$155bn by 2024

FuboTV has acquired California-based technology startup Balto Sports, in a deal which marks the US-based streaming platform’s first move into the online sports wagering market.

A Y Combinator company, Balto develops tools for users to organise and play fantasy sports games, and FuboTV now intends to leverage its own proprietary technology with Balto’s contest automation software to launch a free-to-play gaming offering.

While financial the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the acquisition will also see Balto’s team join FuboTV to help drive the company’s expansion into the online sports wagering market, which is expected to reach US$155 billion by 2024, according to Zion Market Research.

FuboTV had announced plans to expand into sports gambling during its latest earnings report in November, when the service also confirmed it had surpassed 455,000 subscribers. At the time, FuboTV said it had ‘an opportunity to combine a sports wagering service with our leading live sports streaming package’.

The Balto Sports deal signals FuboTV’s attempt to develop its own offering, rather than align with an established sports betting operator. The company said additional announcements will be forthcoming.

“We believe there are significant synergies between consumers who enjoy wagering and our subscribers who enjoy streaming live sports, creating a flywheel opportunity,” said David Gandler, FuboTV’s chief executive and co-founder.

“The acquisition of Balto Sports will enable us to build a first class, free to play experience that brings consumers the best games around live sports. From there, we see a natural progression to layer on real money wagering in regulated markets complementing FuboTV’s live streaming video for a highly engaging user experience within our platform.”

The transaction highlights the increasing links between media companies and betting operators. Notably in 2020, CBS appointed William Hill as the exclusive sportsbook and wagering data provider to the ViacomCBS network’s digital sports division, while NBC Sports announced PointsBet as its official sports betting partner in a reported US$500 million deal.

November also saw Bally’s Corporation secure the naming rights to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio of regional sports networks (RSNs) for a reported US$85 million.

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