- Fanatics Sportsbook has opened for business in Maryland.
- This is the debut location for the betting division of the sports merchandising powerhouse.
- A mobile platform is in the works with a launch date TBA.
Whenever a new player enters the US sportsbook ecosystem it’s good news. With so much of the regulatory infrastructure in the country set up to protect incumbents, keep out new market entrants and stifle innovation it’s definitely an uphill battle. The latest sportsbook to launch in the US is a very interesting one–Fanatics Sportsbook, which opened their first retail outlet at FedEx Field in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC.
Fanatics Sportsbook is the gaming subsidiary of the massively successful Fanatics, Inc. which has become the dominant player in the sports licensing business. If you own a t-shirt or jersey from your favorite team in any sport there’s a good chance that Fanatics was involved. Here’s the particulars from the ‘About Us’ section of the Fanatics Inc. corporate website. It’s a long blurb but worth reading:
As a global leader in licensed sports merchandise, Fanatics is building the leading global digital sports platform and changing the way fans purchase their favorite team apparel, jerseys, headwear and hardgoods through an innovative, tech-infused approach to making and quickly distributing fan gear in today’s 24/7 mobile-first economy. Operating multi-channel commerce for the world’s biggest sports brands, Fanatics offers the largest collection of timeless and timely merchandise whether shopping online, on your phone, in flagship stores, in stadiums or on-site at the world’s biggest sporting events.
Through Fanatics’ innovative commerce capabilities and cutting-edge tech platform, the company has assembled one of the best databases of fans globally which is now being leveraged across the broader sports ecosystem to build new, large-scale digital sports businesses outside of merchandise. Fanatics is the majority owner of Candy Digital, a next generation digital collectibles company that is partnering with prominent sports properties – including MLB and MLBPA – to build an official NFT ecosystem where fans and collectors come to purchase, trade and share officially licensed NFT’s. Additional ventures that will build out Fanatics’ footprint across the broader digital sports landscape will be announced in the coming months.
Fanatics’ partners include all major professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, PGA) and hundreds of collegiate and professional teams, which include several of the biggest global soccer clubs.
In addition to e-commerce, the capabilities of Fanatics include omnichannel-integrated physical retail operations across a broad portfolio of flagship stores, team retail and special events; international capabilities that provide a global sports retail platform; and an in-house merchandise and manufacturing division that is a licensed partner of professional and collegiate teams and helps fans express passion through a broad range of apparel and non-apparel products created under the Fanatics, Nike, Top of the World, Majestic and WinCraft brands.
As a leading global digital sports platform, Fanatics is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where we all live, work and play through strategic philanthropic initiatives. As a market leader with more than 8,000 employees and over 300 partners, suppliers, and vendors in 11 countries, we also take responsibility for driving toward more ethical and sustainable practices.
We’ll talk more about why the entry of Fanatics into the sports betting fray in a subsequent article.
Their retail sportsbook inside FedEx Field is the first inside of a NFL football stadium–obviously they’ve gained ‘market access’ through the NFL Washington Commanders. The Fanatics Sportsbook at FedExField will be open seven days a week from 10 am – 12 am ET. the sportsbook has its own entrance located at Gate H, off of Garrett Morgan Road and FedEx Way. Unfortunately, since the NFL wrote the book on hypocrisy involving sports betting don’t expect to watch and wager on NFL Sundays:
In accordance with the NFL’s Commercial Gambling policy, the sportsbook will be open with food and beverage service but will not take any bets on the dates of Washington Commanders home games.
Ari Borod, Chief Business Officer, Fanatics Betting and Gaming, is obviously thrilled at the launch of his company’s first retail sportsbook:
“We are excited to bring the Fanatics Sportsbook to Maryland at FedExField. Our first retail location, with adjacency to the Commanders Team store, is a physical representation of what Fanatics will deliver to sports fans all over North America. We are rolling out our platform first at retail and we will have more exciting news to share in the coming months as we bring to market new mobile technology designed to improve the betting experience for sports fans.”
No surprise that the sportsbook is a very nice venue:
The newly designed sportsbook is 5,000 square feet and features eight betting windows, 21 self-service betting kiosks, 2 giant LED Video Walls, 38 TV monitors and a full-service restaurant with food options that every sports fan will enjoy.
The Fanatics Sportsbook will stand alongside the Washington Commanders Team Store, which is operated by Fanatics, building a true Super Fan experience. Now in one location, fans will be able to place a sports wager, buy team merchandise and watch a game in the ultimate sports atmosphere.
The FedExField location will offer legal sports betting markets on all major sports, not just the NFL. The Fanatics Sportsbook will offer viewing experiences and betting markets for all major sports including professional and college football, basketball, hockey, baseball, alongside tennis, soccer, golf, MMA and boxing. The development and trading of sports betting markets will be done in house at Fanatics Betting and Gaming and supported by a number of world-class trading suppliers.
Fanatics has also been licensed in Massachusetts–a state that has shot to the top of the ‘worst US gaming regulatory body’ hit parade. They’ve approved all of the license applicants to appear before the body, but not without bombarding the highly respected gaming companies and executives with pointless questions that you’d expect from the prototypical blue blooded scolds for which Boston is famous. Fanatics got ‘the business’ for having the temerity for also being in the sports merch business. Presumably, they were wringing their hands over the possibility that a bettor might score a free t-shirt. Puritanical busybodies and censorship are both long standing traditions in Boston dating back to the early 19th century.
More to come on Fanatics Sportsbook’s Maryland launch and why it could be a big deal for the future of US sports betting.