FuboTV is integrating its sports betting service into the virtual MVPD's live TV streaming platform, with free-to-play games and FuboTV Sportsbook for real money wagers going live this weekend for select users.
The new free-to-play games are called “pick’ems” and show up ahead of select Sunday games. Users can earn points by picking their predicted winners, and compete against friends and other FuboTV players to climb a leaderboard. No prizes yet for the free Pick’ems play, but FuboTV said it plans to introduce those later, as well as expand the types of contests and gaming experiences. Subscribers can participate in pick’ems across FuboTV connected TVs, smart TVs, gaming consoles and mobile apps.
Even though prizes aren’t awarded yet, a demo of the game shows an example of “Perfect Pick’ems” where a user could win up to $1,000 if they pick all correct winners out of several games (10 in the video) The interface also shows players what percentage of users picked each of the teams as the winner. See a demo of the experience below.
That feature is kicking off on Sunday, June 19 to select subscribers before rolling out to the rest of the user base in coming months. The company isn’t disclosing details about where or what percentage of subscribers will get access to pick’ems first. Pick’ems will be live around select sporting events, including baseball this Sunday, according to a FuboTV spokesperson.
In select markets FuboTV is bringing on Sportsbook integration for pick’ems, where viewers can scan a QR code to place bets with real money based on their picks. Those states currently include Arizona and Iowa, where Fubo Sportsbook operates.
FuboTV had 10 market access deals signed as of May, with four to five more in the pipeline and expectations to “probably launch a couple of more states before the end of the year,” CEO David Gandler said during first quarter earnings last month.
Interactivity, betting a differentiator
With the latest move FuboTV is working to beef up interactivity and more seamlessly integrate sports betting on its proprietary platform into the sports-centric live TV streaming service.
Mike Berkley, chief product officer at FuboTV, called the integration and interactivity a differentiator.
“With this weekend’s launch, FuboTV will become the first live TV streaming platform to offer pick’em games integrated into the video experience with a direct gateway to an owned-and-operated sportsbook,” said Berkley in a statement. “We believe interactivity is a key product differentiator for Fubo and, with these immersive experiences built into our live streaming product, we can offer the most personalized - and customizable - sports and entertainment television experience.”
Last fall the vMVPD shifted new features out of beta, offering free-to-play games and FanView live stats.
During Q1 2022 earnings Gandler outlined Sportsbook as one of five key areas FuboTV is focused on to help achieve its 2025 cash flow goal. FuboTV has been saying since 2020 that it believes sports betting could become a significant new revenue stream, combining a wagering service with its live sports streaming package. In early 2021 the company acquired sports betting and interactive gaming company Vigtory, as it planned to launch its own sportsbook by the end of last year.
The differentiated approach of bringing proprietary Sportsbook, which integrates betting and live streaming in a single ecosystem, “will disrupt both video and gaming,” Gandler said in May.
He added that the company has been taking a measured approach to rolling out Sportsbook, but doesn’t see increasing cost of capital as a long-term challenge. Unlike other betting services, FuboTV can leverage its customer database to scale the sportsbook service, making it less expensive to acquire players, the chief executive noted. FuboTV ended Q1 2022 with 1.06 million North American subscribers.
In today’s announcement he reiterated Q1 comments that FuboTV is already “seeing encouraging early signs of the flywheel effect between FuboTV and Fubo Sportsbook.”
Earlier this year FuboTV launched wagering in Arizona and Iowa, and in May said the company had learned that people who are watching TV spend more time gambling, placing more bets and spending more money.
“We believe our built-in video audience will allow us to acquire users more efficiently, with a limited amount of marketing spend,” Gandler said in a statement Thursday. “We will continue to build our fully unified streaming TV and sportsbook experience with the rollout of more interactive features this year.”
As to whether FuboTV subscribers are sticking with the platform or viewing longer because of the Sportsbook integration, Gandler last month said there wasn’t enough volume yet to tell if there’s an uptick in engagement or viewership from users who are also playing.
FuboTV CFO John Janedis said during Q1 earnings that it expects to start seeing revenue from Sportsbook in the third or fourth quarter, with more material revenue starting in 2023. Long-term, the goal for ARPU expansion from Sportsbook is likely low to mid-single digits from a dollar perspective, according to Gandler.