Fanatics Could Take Sports Bets by End of 2022, Says Founder Rubin

Fanatics — long rumored to be entering the sports betting business — could be accepting wagers by the end of this year.

Fanatics founder Michael Rubin (right) with Philadelphia 76ers Michael Rubin. He said the company could be taking sports bets this year. (Image: Sports Illustrated)

In an interview on The Volume with Colin Cowherd, Fanatics founder Michael Rubin overtly said the company could be taking sports bets before the end of 2022. Interestingly, The Volume is a podcast presented by FanDuel, which is the largest online sportsbook operator in the US and upcoming rival to Fanatics.

It got too complicated. We plan to take bets on the Sixers by the end of this year,” said Rubin in the interview. “It was great when it wasn’t a conflict. When I saw that it was holding back Fanatics it was immediately an easy decision.”

He’s referencing June news that he’d dispose of interests in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, which stoked speculation Fanatics’ foray into sports betting is imminent.

More Signs Fanatics Is Closing in on Sports Betting

Rubin’s comments on Cowherds podcast arrive just days after roughly 60 job openings appeared on the betting and gaming section of the Fanatics careers web site. Those positions include associate commercial counsel, compliance and finance roles, engineering, human resources and trading, among others.

Prior to that, Fanatics lured chief executive officer Matt King from FanDuel. COO Ari Borod previously held roles at The Action Network and FanDuel. Those hires, among others, confirm Fanatics, which was recently valued at $27 billion in private markets, is aiming to be a major player in the sports betting arena.

Those moves are part of the human capital side of the sports betting equation at Fanatics. Last year, the firm filed several patent applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a branded casino, mobile betting app, and sportsbook.

“Fanatics is a massive opportunity. This is a company I think can be the most valuable company in sports. Potentially the most valuable company in technology. I am locked-in and laser-focused,” Rubin told Cowherd.

Fanatics Taking Long View

One thing is clear: Fanatics is taking a long-term view of the sports wagering industry. In comments to Cowherd, Rubin said he views regulated sports betting in the US as “second or third inning,” forecasting strong growth as the activity becomes increasingly mainstream over the next decade.

That echoes a pragmatic approach the Fanatics founder has long applied to sports wagering. While the company has been tied to a variety of industry mergers and acquisitions rumors, it hasn’t made large-scale deal simply to add customers.

Speaking of customers, Fanatics comes to the sports wagering table with a database of 100 million clients, making it a formidable rival for entrenched operators. Some analyst previously speculated that when Fanatics ultimately throws its hat in the sports betting ring, it could force a new round of marketing and promotional spending from established players, potentially endangering their profitability in the process.

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