- Fubo Gaming has announced a promotional partnership with the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Fubo Gaming operates Fubo Sportsbook, a sports betting platform created by the gaming subsidiary of fuboTV.
- Fubo Sportsbook is live in Iowa and Arizona with a number of states ‘in the pipeline’ including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Fubo Gaming is legit. The sports betting subsidiary of streaming giant fuboTV is slowly but surely gaining traction despite a US gaming market which has largely been set up to protect incumbents and deter innovators. They went live in Iowa in early November followed by Arizona in December. They’ve also got market access agreements for Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They’re also starting to work the partnership angle both at a team level and a league level–they’re now an ‘Authorized Gaming Operator’ of NASCAR. Earlier today, they’ve announced a ‘two for one’, signing a partnership deal with the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers that will also provide market access for the state of Iowa.
Just about everyone involved with the US sports betting industry understands the synergy between it and media. Initially, it appeared that sportsbooks that could forge media ties might have an advantage in the marketplace but it’s starting to look like the opposite is true. Sportsbooks rely on bets to keep the money coming in. That’s a problem with so many states bungling sports betting implementation or doing everything they can to protect financial benefactors or legacy gaming interests. Media companies, by contrast, are playing a different game and have multiple revenue streams. They’re arguably in a better position to play the ‘long game’ with the US betting industry. That’s why it isnt a huge surprise that fuboTV’s major competitor–sports streaming network DAZN–has also expressed their designs on the betting industry.
Fubo Gaming and the Cavs formed a marketing partnership in October 2021, making the extended relationship a natural evolution. Here’s the ‘official’ terms of the deal from today’s press release:
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Fubo Gaming, a subsidiary of fuboTV Inc. (NYSE: FUBO) today announced a market access agreement, making Fubo Sportsbook an Official Mobile Sports Betting Partner of the team when the sportsbook launches in Ohio, pending requisite regulatory approvals.
The announcement, which further advances the companies’ current marketing partnership formed in October 2021, comes on the heels of the legalization of sports gambling in the Buckeye State. Pending regulatory approvals, Fubo Sportsbook will launch its market-defining wagering platform in Ohio, offering Cavs fans even more personalized and immersive game-day experiences.
Fubo Gaming launched Fubo Sportsbook in the fourth quarter 2021 and is live in two states: Iowa and Arizona. Fubo Sportsbook is purpose-built to meet U.S. sports fans’ growing demand for interactivity through an industry-first integration of an owned-and-operated sports wagering platform with a live TV streaming experience.
In addition, Fubo Sportsbook will have their branding on a 3,000 square foot sports lounge inside the Cavs’ home arena:
The partnership will feature the opening of a 3,000 sq. ft. sports lounge inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which will serve as a game-day destination for fans with incentives and special bonus offers provided by Fubo Sportsbook. Additionally, fans will be able to watch NBA games and other sporting events from the comfort of the lounge.
Len Komoroski, CEO, Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, is excited to partner with one of the real up and coming players in the sports betting industry:
“This is an exciting evolution of our continued partnership with Fubo Gaming. The Fubo Sportsbook mobile wagering platform provides leading technology, connectivity and entertainment that aligns perfectly with our commitment to innovation and engagement across every aspect of the fan experience. We look forward to the continued collaboration with Fubo as we work to establish a best-in-class sports betting marketplace to offer our fans in Cleveland and throughout the state of Ohio.”
Obviously, Scott Butera, president, Fubo Gaming, is pleased to not only be partnering with the Cavs but to gain market access in another jurisdiction:
“The opportunity to enter the Ohio sports betting market with the Cavaliers as our partner is a major step forward for Fubo. Ohio has a passionate fan base who will enjoy Fubo’s uniquely integrated streaming and wagering sports betting experience. The Cavs are at the forefront of sports innovation and consistently create highly engaging fan experiences. This partnership provides Fubo instant access to a highly attractive customer base.”
Sports betting will do big business in Ohio–it has a strong gambling ‘pedigree’ (more about that in a moment) and is the 7th largest US state by population with 11,727,377 residents. They’ve got a larger population base than several very successful gaming jurisdictions including Michigan, New Jersey, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and Colorado.
Ohio has been a great state for gambling dating back to when Steubenville had a reputation as a ‘wide open’ town that often served as a training academy for Las Vegas dealers and casino managers. It’s also the hometown of Dean Martin and there’s an annual festival commemorating this. Legendary Las Vegas bookmaker Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder is also from Steubenville. In 2018, Robert Mann of Gaming Today reflected on how much this area had given to not only the gaming industry but to Las Vegas:
That’s because that small region of the country delivered to Las Vegas a significant number of individuals to deal blackjack and craps at Caesars Palace in its early years. Additionally, numerous natives of that part of the country (some now retired) continue to remain on the frontlines in Nevada casinos, especially in the world of race and sports, having heavily influenced the industry.
Among them are the retired Bert Osborne and his successor at the South Point, Chris Andrews. Others include South Point colleague Jimmy Vacarro, the late Robert “Muggsy” Muniz, Art Manteris, Johnny Spot, Jerry Ludt, Tom Blazek, Tommy Saber and many, many others.
Mann spoke to his Gaming Today colleague Richard Saber–also from Steubenville–to get an understanding of the vibe in the town:
According to Saber, when growing up in Steubenville he never realized gambling was illegal. “One of the first things I remember is my father always taking Sunday off from his restaurant. We lived downtown and, along with brother Tommy, the three of us would walk down to what was called a “cigar store” and go in. I can still smell the cigar smoke, even now. Anyway, my dad would play a punch card and then we’d go into the back room.”
He continued, “What I loved about it was once you got in the back room, you were on a different planet. My dad loved to bet his $5 baseball parlay and that’s where he’d do it. They even had free sandwiches. We loved it.”
Stated quite frankly by Saber, “That’s how I learned about gambling as a six-year-old. I loved it.”
The thought here is most of the other Western Pennsylvania/Eastern Ohio boys had a similar experience. Saber even got a bit of the gambling bug from his mother, Mary, who booked the numbers while working as crossing guard at the high school. “The teachers who liked to play the numbers all bet with her,” he recounted.
Saber learned many of the basics of gambling on the arm of his father, including that it was the bookmaker who was driving the new Cadillac and the bettor, who just borrowed fifty cents from his dad that drove away in the beat-up Volkswagen.
Saber recalls as he got a little older, while betting the NFL on Sunday, even the policemen would pull up to the cigar store, make a bet or two, say hello to everyone and go back to work.
The entire article is well worth your time to read. The weekly print edition of Gaming Today is one of the things I miss the most about the days when Las Vegas was the epicenter of the sports betting industry. Today, they’re ‘online only’ but still serve up excellent content and news coverage.