FuboTV to Break into Sports Gambling

FuboTV announced it will acquire sports betting and interactive gaming company Vigtory, making it the latest sports-oriented media company to invest in sports gambling to attract and retain viewers.

Vigtory is an online sportsbook that caters to high-volume bettors with the promise to take less money from the betters, known as the “vig.” Vigtory offers its customers vigs that are 50 to 75% lower than the typical vig.

FuboTV, the leading sports-first live TV streaming platform, signed a binding letter of intent on Jan. 12 to purchase Vigtory and committed to launching a sportsbook before the end of the year.

FuboTV has said that beyond the integration of Vigtory into its TV platform, the service will still be available to those outside FuboTV’s subscriber base.

“The addition of Vigtory to fuboTV is a pivotal event in the sports entertainment industry. As sports fans increasingly desire interactive sports events, sports betting and related businesses such as iGaming and free to play contests have become a critical component of fan engagement. Combining fuboTV’s broad and deep offering of live-streamed sporting events with Vigtory’s world-class sports betting products creates the ultimate sports betting experience for consumers,” said Scott Buttera, co-CEO of Vigtory.

Under the proposed acquisition, both Butera and co-CEO Sam Rattner will join FuboTV’s gaming division as president and COO, respectively.

The exact terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed. The acquisition is still subject to the execution of a definitive acquisition agreement and the satisfaction of certain closing conditions. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Many media companies have teamed up with online sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings to attract customers. Sportsbooks are growing in popularity as online sports wagering expands across the U.S., with various states legalizing sports gambling.

According to an estimate from MGM Resorts International, the U.S. sports-betting market is projected to reach about $13.5 billion by 2025, based on 38 states legalizing sports wagering by that time.

Last fall, ESPN reached a deal with the sports-gambling company DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment Inc. to connect its audience to the gambling operators’ sportsbooks across digital platforms. Following that partnership, DraftKings and Turner Networks, owned by AT&T’s WarnerMedia, formed a similar partnership.

Last week the company said it expected subscribers through 2020 to exceed 545,000. During the third quarter, FuboTV said it had 455,000 paid customers.

FuboTV has more plans for the future of the company. The company acquired Balto Sports and its content automation software in December of 2020. FuboTV intends to use that acquisition to launch a free to play gaming experience this summer. The company hopes to use the gaming app as another lead generator for driving subscribers to its streaming video platform and, ultimately, its sportsbook.

“We believe online sports wagering is a highly complementary business to our sports-first live TV streaming platform. We don’t see wagering as simply an add-on product to fuboTV. Instead, we believe there is a real flywheel opportunity with streaming video content and interactivity,” said David Gandler, co-founder and CEO, fuboTV.

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