Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin Walks Back Sportsbook Expectations For 2023

Written By Matthew Bain on April 20, 2023
Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin walks back 2023 sportsbook launch expectations, from

Fanatics Sportsbook is still expected to launch in Massachusetts in 2023. However, it will be part of a smaller handful of 2023 sports betting launches than Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin originally projected.

At this week’s CAA World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles, Rubin said he expects Fanatics Sportsbook to be live in 12-15 states by the start of the NFL season. That’s a change from the 15-20 states he projected in October. At that time, he also said Fanatics would begin launching its sports betting app in January.

That hasn’t happened either.

“We’re not in a rush there,” Rubin said this week.

Will Fanatics still launch in MA in May?

Currently, Fanatics is running beta testing on its sports betting app — powered by Amelco — in Tennessee and Ohio. It has a temporary online Massachusetts sports betting license. It can launch in MA as soon as it’s ready and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission grants it an operations certificate.

Rubin’s walk-back of his lofty goals likely doesn’t affect whether Fanatics Sportsbook will launch in Massachusetts in 2023. But it does suggest the company’s May target date may be ambitious. Especially considering Fanatics is not running beta testing in the Bay State at the moment.

Fanatics did not immediately respond to PlayMA‘s request for comment on Thursday.

Fanatics and media rights deals

Rubin’s comments came as part of an overall discussion on the future of Fanatics, which included conversation on potential media rights deals down the line for the sports merchandise giant attempting to become an online sports betting giant.

“If we do a great job in the commerce business, which is merchandise, do a great job with collectibles, do a great job in online sports betting, we think those three businesses long term can have $8 billion of EBITDA,” Rubin said. “So that’s a big number. That means we could afford to buy any rights we want to long term. And so what we’ve got to do is make those three businesses work and not get ahead of ourselves. And that’s consistent with that I’ve been saying.

“Do we believe media makes sense for us long term? Yes. Do I think live sports is intimidating? I do. And so I want to watch it and learn about it for years to come.”

Photo by AP Photo/Marta Lavandier
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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain is currently the Content Manager at Catena Media’s national online lottery site, PlayiLottery. He used to be the News Content Manager at Catena Media, overseeing news content for the network’s highest-priority regional sites. Massachusetts is a young, promising gambling market, so PlayMA was one of his focuses. Prior to joining Catena Media in 2022, Matthew won 10 statewide and national journalism awards during six years as a reporter and editor for the USA TODAY Network. Matthew's work primarily appeared in the Des Moines Register, but he was also featured in the Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and USA TODAY. Throughout his career, Matthew's bylines have also appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seattle Times, and Orange County Register.

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