- Sports merchandising giant Fanatics has registered the term ‘BetFanatics’ with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
- Fanatics was in the news earlier this year after they purchased the venerable Topps trading card company.
- The company has added ‘Fanatics Betting & Gaming’ to their corporate website.
Sports merchandising giant Fanatics has made no secret of their desire to grow the company beyond licensing, manufacturing and selling team jerseys and other fan gear. Earlier this year, they purchased Topps trading cards after securing long term trading card rights in most major North American sports. They launched a subsidiary for trading cards and collectibles in 2021 called ‘Fanatics Collectibles’. In May 2021, they created a subsidiary called ‘Candy Digital’ to take on the booming NFT (non-fungible token) space. Candy Digital is a partnership with Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, Candy Digital was launched in May 2021 by Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO, Galaxy Digital, and Gary Vaynerchuk, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor.
Given their rapid expansion into new areas of opportunity, it was inevitable that they’d turn their attention to sports betting. In June 2021, they made it clear that they weren’t messing around hiring FanDuel CEO Matt King to lead the new subsidiary called ‘Fanatics Betting & Gaming’. They’ve since added a couple more impressive hires to their management team as reported by SBC Americas:
Fanatics has been preparing itself for its sports betting venture for a while, as it appointed former FanDuel CEO Matt King as CEO of its Betting and Gaming division last year.
The firm’s Betting and Gaming division also features Ari Borod as Chief Commercial Officer (formerly Chief Operating Officer of affiliate marketing site The Action Network) and Scot McClintic as Chief Product Officer (formerly Senior Vice President of iGaming Product & Strategy at Paysafe Group).
Until recently they hadn’t done much else. The Fanatics corporate website still reflects this, as the only information relative to their sports betting initiative is this very non-specific blurb:
Fanatics Betting and Gaming has an industry edge combining one of the best global databases of diehard and casual sports fans, proven creative marketing and social strategies, cutting-edge technology, and Fanatics’ global brand recognition.
This bit of ‘boilerplate’ is likely to change soon, as there’s every indication that Fanatics is starting to make a move. On May 23, trademark attorney Josh Gerben posted the following tidbit of information:
If you head over to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website you can search for yourself. Here’s what you’ll find:
Here’s the relevant text:
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Downloadable mobile application for betting and gaming; Downloadable mobile applications for use in fantasy sports leagues, namely, mobile applications for managing and participating in fantasy sports leagues; downloadable mobile application for providing sports programming and information; downloadable mobile application for providing previews, alerts, replays, video clips of sporting competitions, and web cam feeds, all in the field of sports; downloadable mobile application for providing entertainment and sports and esports related news; downloadable mobile application for sports betting; downloadable mobile application for fantasy sports contests; Downloadable mobile application featuring news and information in the field of sports; downloadable mobile application providing sports league player and team statistics and sports information in the nature of player, team and game analysis and forecasting using predictive analytics.
IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Providing casino facilities; conducting and providing facilities for betting, gambling and gaming; Online gaming services; online free to play gaming services; Bookmaking services, namely, providing of information related to sports betting; organizing, arranging, conducting sports betting and gambling tournaments, competitions and contests; entertainment services in the nature of sports betting; providing a web site featuring news and information in the field of sports and sports betting; conducting and providing facilities for sports betting; entertainment services in the nature of sports betting; providing a web site featuring news and information in the field of sports and sports betting; conducting and providing facilities for sports betting; entertainment in the nature of ongoing internet protocol television (iptv) programming segments in the field of sports; entertainment services, namely, a continuing program about sports accessible by television, satellite, and computer networks; entertainment in the nature of television sports news shows; entertainment services in the nature of fantasy sports leagues; providing a website that provides information regarding sports league player performance and statistics; organizing, conducting and operating fantasy sport tournaments; providing news and information in the field of sports; entertainment services, namely, providing podcasts in the field of sports; entertainment services, namely, providing a website for on-line gambling; betting and gambling services and information services relating thereto; gaming services in the nature of casino gambling, casino gaming, free to play gaming, and information services relating thereto; provision of information relating to sporting events; entertainment services, namely, providing online electronic games, providing online card games and online poker games; organization and conducting of sports competitions in the field of betting, gambling, online gambling, online casino gaming, electronic or online trivia, puzzle games and games of chance in the nature of poker, black jack, solitaire, roulette, slots, bingo, keno, baccarat and craps; organization and conducting of poker tournaments; provision of betting services transmitted via a global computer network in the nature of the internet; provision of gaming services in the nature of casino gambling and casino gaming; on-line and telephone gambling and betting services; on-line gaming services in the nature of casino gambling and casino gaming; betting exchange services; lottery services; provision of horse racing data and information via the internet; providing on-line non-downloadable electronic racing publications in the nature of books, periodicals, newspapers, brochures, leaflets, and magazines in the fields of gaming, betting, gambling, games of chance; providing advice in the field of betting tips and spread betting service; entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; online gaming services in the nature of computer game tournaments
This sort of rambling and non-specific list of ‘goods and services’ is typical but I’ll translate: BetFanatics is launching a sportsbook platform. This isn’t to say that they might not have some other betting related projects in the works but the primary goal is to get into the sportsbook game. You don’t create a division and lure away some A list talent otherwise.
If you’re a frequent visitor to this website and have been paying attention, you’re no doubt aware that there’s a variety of ways that a company can make this happen. Barstool Sportsbook, for example, is owned by Penn National Gaming. Penn National purchased a 36% stake in the company in 2020 and will increase that stake to 50% in 2023. SI Sportsbook is a partnership between 888 Holdings and Sports Illustrated.
In this case, however, every indication is that Fanatics will be creating their own platform in-house. They’ve started the process of hiring more employees to build out the Betting & Gaming division and these can give us some idea of what they’re up to. More about that in a subsequent article….