FuboTV shuts down its sports betting service that synced with on-screen action
More than a wagering platform, Fubo Sportsbook is purpose-built to meet U.S. sports fans’ growing demand for interactivity through an industry-first integration of an owned-and-operated sports wagering platform with a live TV streaming experience. By integrating with fuboTV, the mobile app delivers a personalized omniscreen experience that turns passive viewers into active and engaged participants. Fubo Sportsbook is launching with a unique feature, Watching Now, which leverages fuboTV’s first-party user data to allow users to instantly view wagering content based upon what they are streaming — even as they change the channel. Fubo Gaming intends to continue iterating the app, launching additional features, subject to regulatory approval, that will further integrate wagering into the fuboTV platform, to create an even more immersive and personalized experience.
At the time, FuboTV still said it planned to launch live odds this year. Last December, FuboTV’s chief product officer told The Verge that betting is “kind of core to being a fan, making casual bets with friends and family, and it is something that we felt would make our product even more engaging than it is now.”
Now that business is gone, and according to co-founder and CEO David Gandler, the reason is simply that “Following our previously announced strategic review, we have concluded that continuing with Fubo Gaming and Fubo Sportsbook in this challenging macroeconomic environment would impact our ability to reach our longer term profitability goals.”
Apparently, the company sought partners to help shoulder the expense of launching gambling features widely but didn’t find a deal that worked. Another notable development in the last few months is a production deal between FuboTV and the Ryan Reynolds-backed production company Maximum Effort that included Maximum Effort buying an ownership stake in the streamer.
FuboTV will release more detailed results and have an earnings call in November which may shed more light on the decision, but for now, I’m wondering what this indicates for other companies, like Disney / ESPN, Fox, and DAZN that have either launched gambling features already or said they will. If the economic environment makes people a little more guarded about their wallets, or if regulatory approval isn’t as easy to come by as they anticipated, then others could follow FuboTV’s decision to turn out the lights on betting before they really get started.
One indicator could come very soon. ESPN’s second-annual Edge conference is scheduled to take place in two days on Wednesday, October 19th, with a session titled “ESPN Bet — we like our hand.”