Ohio Serves As Blueprint For Fanatics Sportsbook Success

Written By Steve Schult on October 28, 2023
A picture of a blueprint for a house with a Fanatics sportsbook logo for a story about how the company's moves in Ohio appear how the company can achieve success nationwide.

Fanatics, Inc. is a staple of the U.S. sports industry. The Jacksonville-based retailer has produced licensed sportswear for nearly every professional sports league in the country.

But recently, the company started expanding its business into the sports betting industry.

They cemented their commitment to sports betting by acquiring PointsBet U.S. last summer for $225 million. Fanatics Sportsbook is live in Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee and Massachusetts.

If Fanatics is going to have success in their new venture, their Ohio sports betting operation will likely serve as the roadmap.

Fanatics retail sportsbooks inside sports arenas

There are two Fanatics-branded retail sportsbooks in the Buckeye State. Both are in professional sports arenas.

In mid-August, Fanatics online sportsbook launched its full operations in Ohio. The platform was approved for launch on Jan. 1, but it chose to spend several months in beta testing first.

Shortly after the launch, Fanatics opened two retail sportsbooks. The first was just outside Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Guardians. The second was adjacent to Nationwide Arena, home to the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Cleveland location was previously a Bet365 Ohio sportsbook. In January, the European-based sports betting company inked a deal with the Guardians. But even after the Cleveland location was re-branded, the Guardians acted as the market access partner for Bet365 to operate in the online sportsbook market.

Once Fanatics launched its official online platform, its market share rapidly increased.

August is the most recent month with Ohio sports betting data. Of the $364.3 million wagered with Ohio online sportsbooks, bettors wagered $6.9 million of that with Fanatics.

Those numbers made Fanatics the seventh-largest sportsbook in Ohio. But in only half the month. If those numbers doubled, it would jump ahead of Barstool and become the sixth-largest sportsbook with about 4% market share.

It might not sound like much, but DraftKings Ohio and FanDuel Ohio dominate the industry. The two fantasy sports giants garner about two-thirds of the market share. The rest is divided between the other 18 operators in the state. It’s like that in most other jurisdictions as well.

Fanatics brand recognition, jersey sales, could spark future growth

Unlike other Ohio sportsbook operators, Fanatics doesn’t have a track record in the gambling industry. On the other hand, they do have a track record in sports.

Fanatics has apparel deals with the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, Formula 1 and even the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. Most recently, the company inked a 10-year deal with the NHL to produce the official on-ice uniforms for the league.

This gives them name-brand recognition that other small operators don’t have. Nearly every sports fan has heard of Fanatics. But it’s hard to believe many have heard of Tipico or MVGBet.

Furthermore, they are leveraging their apparel to gain customers on their sportsbook. Just before the start of the NFL season, Fanatics Sportsbook ran a deposit promo where a $50 deposit would get the bettor a $150 credit to the Fanatics store.

There isn’t another operator that can cross-promote like that. Or have the ability to easily tap into another customer base of the sports industry.

In other words, the sheer presence of Fanatics in professional sports should promote its growth down the road.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Steve Schult

The managing editor for PlayOhio and several other Catena Media sites, Steve stays on top of all things related to the national gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker’s most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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