Next Monday, Fanatics will make the app available to customers in two states — Ohio and Tennessee — a company spokesman told Sports Handle. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, hours before the opening round of the NFL Draft.
Fanatics’ decision to select the two states should not come as a surprise. Earlier this month, the merchandising giant confirmed that it had beta-tested the app in both states. The rollout will not be a full launch, rather a more nuanced one, according to an industry source. The official beta testing period will end on Monday, a company spokesman told Sports Handle.
By then, Fanatics Sportsbook will be made available to Fanatics’ customers in Ohio and Tennessee. Fanatics’ customers in those states will be given a code that will grant them access to Fanatics Sportsbook, the spokesman added. At the moment, Fanatics is live with retail sports betting in just one state, Maryland. In January, the company opened a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at FedEx Field, home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
Shots taken from beta testing in Tennessee and Ohio show a #Fanatics mobile betting product that looks ready for prime time.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) April 19, 2023
Last week, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin teased the app launch at the CAA World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles. There, Rubin told an assembled crowd that he is confident that the quality of the product will be competitive with industry behemoths DraftKings and FanDuel.
Fanatics will look to cut into the market share held by the industry’s top three companies — FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM. In the Buckeye State, that triumvirate commanded a combined market share of 79% in February.
In conjunction with the app rollout, Fanatics may debut a new customer loyalty program dubbed “FanCash.” Screenshots obtained by Sports Handle last week indicate that sports betting customers may be able to exchange FanCash for merchandise and other Fanatics commodities.
The NFL, along with Nike, signed a 10-year deal with Fanatics in 2018 that designated the company as the exclusive distributor of all NFL Nike products. The deal took effect in 2020.
Fanatics Sportsbook’s online launch comes at a time when the industry has increasingly monitored conversion rates from other verticals. During beta testing, Fanatics converted between 2% and 2.5% of customers from its e-commerce business without offering promotions, Rubin explained.
Fanatics also has the cash flow to compete with the aforementioned industry giants. After completing a $700 million funding round last December, Fanatics received a valuation of $31 billion.
Beyond the two states, Rubin is optimistic that Fanatics will be able to convert a high percentage of NFT users and online shoppers at a relatively high rate.
“We’re pretty bullish. I’m either going to be right, or I’ll tell you that I was wrong and I screwed up,” Rubin said in a fireside chat with Sports Business Journal Editor Abe Madkour.
Speaking at Tues' #SBJWCOS, @Fanatics CEO @michaelrubin backtracked from previous estimates that #FanaticsSportsbook will be live in 15-20 states by WK 1 of the @NFL regular season. Rubin placed the number at closer to 12, while adding that it will be the "biggest states." pic.twitter.com/M1TExH7XLb
— Matt Rybaltowski (@MattRybaltowski) April 18, 2023
Also during that chat, Rubin indicated that Fanatics may launch the app in two additional states by the end of June. Fanatics was among a handful of sportsbook operators that received a temporary online sports betting license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in February.
Following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ elimination from the NBA playoffs on Wednesday night, every NBA and NHL team from Ohio has finished its season. In Tennessee, the Memphis Grizzlies stayed alive with a victory Wednesday over the L.A. Lakers, but the Nashville Predators did not make the playoffs.