Sports-focused streaming platform FuboTV has acquired sportsbook start-up Vigtory, a deal which the streaming service expects to allow it to launch its own sportsbook this year.
Under the agreement, Victory founder Sam Rattner and Scott Butera will join FuboTV as chief operating officer and president of gaming respectively. Butera previously served as president of interactive gaming at MGM Resorts International before joining Vigtory as co-chief executive last year.
“The proposed acquisition of Vigtory will give fuboTV the technology to build a consumer-driven sports betting product and launch it before the end of this year,” David Gandler, co-founder and chief executive of fuboTV, said.
“It will also help us solve two hurdles that challenge other media companies who want to enter the wagering market.
“First, Sam and Scott have years of experience navigating the complex gaming regulatory environment and, in fact, already have a first market access agreement completed. Second, fuboTV can leverage its own first party user behavior data to understand our consumers’ viewing preferences, and when and how to prompt them to consider placing bets. Uniquely, fuboTV will be a media company and sportsbook all-in-one.”
Gandler added that he saw the streaming and sportsbook businesses as complementary.
“We believe online sports wagering is a highly complementary business to our sports-first live TV streaming platform,” he said. “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.
Butera said the combination of FuboTV’s streaming offering – which it estimates ended 2020 with around 545,000 paid subscribers – with Vigtory’s betting product makes the deal a landmark in sports entertainment.
“The addition of Vigtory to FuboTV is a pivotal event in the sports entertainment industry,” Butera said. “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.”
Vigtory, which was founded in 2019, is already seeking market access agreements in several Eastern states and has secured one in Iowa with Casino Queen.
FuboTV said it expects to be able to use Vigtory’s technology to develop “a frictionless betting experience” for its customers.
Rattner said both his business and FuboTV share a similar ethos and goals.
“I have followed FuboTV since its launch in 2015 and am impressed that this talented team has established itself as a leader in live TV streaming,” Rattner said. “FuboTV and Vigtory share a common vision of developing great products based on great technology, all while being laser-focused on the consumer.
“To have the unique opportunity of integrating Vigtory’s innovative digital betting applications into live streaming, a leading vertical in how fans consume sports, is an unprecedented opportunity in the digital gaming market.”
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the end of the first quarter, were not disclosed.
Last month, FuboTV made its first move into gaming when it acquired fantasy sports supplier Balto Sports. It intends to launch a Balto-powered free-to-play game for both subscribers and non-subscribers this summer.
“Our free to play gaming experience, which will be available to all consumers, will build further scale to fuboTV, essentially acting as another lead generator for driving subscribers to our streaming video platform and, ultimately, our sportsbook,” Gandler said.
“We not only expect sports wagering to become a new line of business and source of revenue, but we also expect that it will increase user engagement on fuboTV resulting in higher ad monetization, better subscriber retention and reduced subscriber acquisition costs.”