Fubo Sportsbook became the 12th of 18 sportsbook apps in Arizona to launch operations, opening just ahead of Christmas to give the company a head start on its goals for 2022.
Arizona is the second state where the company has launched. It debuted its online betting app in Iowa in November. The company also has market access agreements in Pennsylvania, Indiana and New Jersey.
BetArizona.com chatted with Fubo Sportsbook President Scott Butera to get the latest on the company’s launch plan in the Grand Canyon State, as well as the company’s vision for Arizona and more.
The conversation below has been edited for length and clarity.
BetArizona.com: Why was it important for your company to launch Fubo Sportsbook in Arizona before the end of the year?
Scott Butera: It’s kind of how the timing worked out, from a licensing and regulatory standpoint, and when we were able to get our partnership finalized. But bigger picture is we’re excited to be in Arizona.
Obviously, it's turned out to be a great sports betting market, in the short bit of time it's been up and running. At Fubo Gaming, we’re taking a very different approach to wagering, in that we're the first (operator) to fully integrate TV, video streaming and wagering.
And the reason for that is our media entity, FuboTV, unlike a lot of other media entities, is actually willing to go through the licensing process from a gaming standpoint. So, our product is truly integrated, it's truly synchronized.
And so that when for example, if you're watching FuboTV, and you have your sportsbook app up and running, you’ll know what's happening on the screen, because it's happening on your Fubo Sportsbook app.
We have a feature called “Watching Now,” which allows that. And we have all other kinds of integrations that are going to create these unique experiences that follow you as you watch your game or match with new wagering offerings, whether they be real money wagering, or free to play or other forms of engagement.
And Arizona is a market where we have very strong family presence and are very well known. We cover all the sports — 50,000 plus events a year. We have a strong soccer following, and we have a Latin American package. And from a geographic standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for us.
So, being in Arizona, having a great partner, and being able to find a home that really allows us to accentuate our truly unique feature of this whole watching wagering experience was important to us.
BetArizona.com: Can you take us through how Fubo’s sports betting and TV streaming services work together?
Butera: In a traditional relationship between a media company and sportsbook, it's kind of an affiliate relationship where, the media company will have a brand that they'll feature, they'll have lines that they display, they have advertising sponsorship.
But then if you're watching that channel, and you want to bet through that sportsbook you have to pull up a separate app. And there are two separate platforms. They're separate environments. And that's because the media companies typically don't want to go through a gaming licensing process, and they don't want to be gaming operators. So, they outsource that.
In our case, we're completely licensed. So, when we develop our product, it's sort of developed as one integrated product. So that if you're streaming TV, our sportsbook is part of that environment.
So, if you had the game on TV, you pull up (Fubo sportsbook app), and you hit this “Watching Now” feature, whatever's on the TV, that game would be displayed, as would all those betting lines that can be displayed, from your betting app.
If you were to change channels or (watch) another game, the app would actually change to that game. And then as that game progresses, we're able to create betting options that sort of match what's happening on screen in real time so that you're really engaged with what's going on.
I was in the gaming business before, and we spent a lot of time really getting to know a customer. If you're a casino customer, your hosts will know everything about you, right down to when you get out of bed, what they eat, what kind of entertainment you like, what your family situation is, etc.
And for us, if I'm a sportsbook, and I know your sports spending habits, well, I might know what games you liked, and what sports you like, and what teams you like. But not a whole lot beyond that.
But in our instance, if our customer watches over 130 hours of TV a month, then we get to really learn what that customer likes. And with somebody that likes sports, we're able to create unique offerings — whether they be promotions, or things that we're doing for that customer that we believe that customer is truly going to enjoy — because we know so much about them.
So, there's a lot that goes into this synchronization and integration and hopefully we can acquire and convert to sports betting much more efficiently and at much less cost than with a traditional operator with marketing retail.
BetArizona.com: I know that your partners, the Ak-Chin Indian Community, have two separate sportsbook partners (Caesars and Fubo). How has the process of working with a tribe that’s also partnered with another gaming entity gone on your end?
Butera: It's been outstanding. So, Caesars originally introduced us to the Ak-Chin Indian Community. We work with Caesars in Indiana, and in New Jersey and other places. And they're a good partner for us, and the Ak-Chin Indian Community have also been a fantastic partner.
We love their property. We love, obviously, that community. We’re really the mobile operator. So, we don't really have any kind of conflicts with what's going on at the property. Hopefully, we can benefit them by driving people to the property.
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So you really have three groups that know each other really well and worked together in the past and we hope to do more together going forward. So, we couldn't have picked a better circumstance from that standpoint.
BetArizona.com: What’s special about the Arizona sportsbooks marketplace in your opinion?
Butera: I think what's special about it is, is just, you know, how strong it is. I think it's gotten off to a great start. It has maybe a little bit less seasonality. And for us, in particular, because of the geographic location and the ability to really market some of our soccer packages in Latin America, you’re sort of an entrée into Southern America, which is really important to us.
That’s why it's sort of the second state, and then, our biggest state so far. And strategically, there's a lot to like about the state, and I think the early returns are showing just how strong Arizona can be.
Also, some states are a little bit more established, and we're starting in an environment where some of our competitors have had kind of a two-year runway. So, from a competitive standpoint, we're getting in as close to the ground floor as you probably can. So that was also appealing to us as well.
BetArizona.com: How does Arizona fit into Fubo Gaming’s vision for its future?
Butera: It's super important, you know, for all the reasons I mentioned before, and I think if you look at where we're going to be in the West Coast, (Arizona’s) probably going to be our primary state for the foreseeable future.
So we hope to be able to market from neighboring states, as well as Arizona, as well as people from (Mexico) that travel to Arizona.
It’s a year-round community. So, for all those reasons — for our viewership, for the nature of our product, for giving us a real strong presence on the West Coast, in a competitive environment. And just from the performance of the states. So, it’s super, super important for us.
BetArizona.com: How does Fubo Sportsbook stand out in a crowded field of operators in Arizona?
Butera: Again, we’re very different than everyone else. Our goal is to really market this sort of interactive TV product. We're creating experiences where people are watching sports and betting on sports, as opposed to just your traditional sportsbook. We really want to create a package of viewership.
And that's what we're really trying to create with our platform is this uniquely synchronized watching and betting experience that creates fun opportunities for people when they want to watch sports.
So, for us, it's not just about betting on sports, it's really about creating an environment where I can perhaps get with my friends and watch a game and have other offerings. And we're going to have all kinds of great stats.
So, there’s a lot we're doing with technology. But again, in our instance, if we can use wagering to get people to watch more sports, then that creates more advertising opportunities for us. It can create more subscription revenue for us and create better retention for our subscription network. So, it's really a flywheel between what we're doing on (FuboTV’s side) and what we're doing on our wagering side, as opposed to traditional sports betting companies.
BetArizona.com: Is there anything else that you’d like to discuss?
Butera: I just think that the biggest thing is that we're this uniquely integrated video streaming and wagering experience that's going to have a lot of really unique features that emphasize that synchronization and hopefully create really fun ways to watch sports.