FuboTV's latest buy to underpin new online sportsbook

FuboTV is again taking the M&A path along its journey to differentiate the OTT-TV service from an expanding mix of streaming competitors.

The self-proclaimed "sports-first" virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) announced Tuesday that it has inked a deal to acquire Vigtory, an interactive gaming company. FuboTV said the acquisition will play a role in the launch of an online sportsbook before the end of the year.

Vigtory bills itself online as an emerging online sportsbook destination that promises 'the lowest possible price. No more high margins. No hidden fees. Just betting.'
Vigtory bills itself online as an emerging online sportsbook destination that promises 'the lowest possible price. No more high margins. No hidden fees. Just betting.'

Financial terms were not disclosed, but FuboTV expects to wrap up the deal sometime in the first quarter of 2021.

FuboTV said the basis of the acquisition of Vigtory and its sportsbook and digital gaming assets is to help FuboTV develop a "frictionless betting experience." Vigtory, the company added, has held discussions about how to access the sportsbook market in the eastern US and already has a deal locked in Iowa through Casino Queen, a riverboat casino.

Vigtory's site currently gives visitors a way to register and receive alerts when the service goes live in their state. Vigtory markets itself as a low-cost online sportsbook free of hidden fees with access to data and analytical tools to help customers make their picks.

Online sports wagering taking shape

This latest deal comes about six weeks after FuboTV announced the acquisition of Balto Sports, a fantasy sports tech company with roots to the Y Combinator startup incubator program.

FuboTV will use both acquisitions to launch a new online sports wagering capability, including a free-to-play option that will launch this summer as an app that will be available to both FuboTV subscribers and non-FuboTV customers. FuboTV also plans to integrate its free-to-play offering with its pay-TV streaming service.

In addition, FuboTV is exploring real money wagering in regulated markets. The company noted today it intends to launch a sportsbook app that enables users to view current betting lines, place a variety of wagers and cash in their winnings. FuboTV also plans to integrate the sportsbook app into its live TV streaming platform.

The deal for Vigtory should expand the sports gaming expertise at FuboTV.

Vigtory was founded in 2019 by digital sports entrepreneur Sam Rattner, who previously started a sports betting tech company called Engine Sports, and is backed by SeventySix Capital. Scott Butera, a former MGM Resorts exec who played a key role in launching BetMGM, joined Vigtory as Rattner's co-CEO in 2020. Butera also served as commissioner of the Arena Football League and was an exec of several gaming-related businesses, including Foxwoods Resort Casino, Tropicana Entertainment, Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino, and Trump Entertainment. Under the proposed deal, both Butera and Rattner will join FuboTV's gaming division as president and COO, respectively.

FuboTV views online sports wagering as a complementary business that can help differentiate its pay-TV product amid competition from traditional pay-TV providers along with vMVPDs such as YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, Vidgo and Philo.

"We don't see wagering as simply an add-on product to fuboTV. Instead, we believe there is a real flywheel opportunity with streaming video content and interactivity," David Gandler, co-founder and CEO of FuboTV, said in a statement.

In preliminary Q4 results posted last week, FuboTV said paid year-end subs were expected to exceed 545,000, a 72% year-on-year increase that will beat prior subscriber guidance of 500,000 to 510,000. FuboTV also expects Q4 revenues to be $94 million to $98 million, up 77% to 84% year-over-year, ahead of prior guidance of between $80 million and $85 million.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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