Sports-first virtual MVPD streamer FuboTV has taken its first major step toward realizing its declared intention to enter the online sports betting arena, with the acquisition of Balto Sports.
The announcement describes Balto as a Y Combinator (an American seed-fund startup accelerator) that develops tools for users to organize and play fantasy sports games. FuboTV said it intends to use its own proprietary technology with Balto’s contest automation software to launch a free-to-play gaming offering.
Analysts at investment bank Berenberg told clients in a note that a Y Combinator newsfeed from 2019 suggests that Balto “was created to provide fantasy sports managers and casual betting organizers a means for monetizing their games,” noted Advanced Television.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Balto’s team will join FuboTV to help drive the company’s expansion into both free-to-play gaming and online sports wagering.
The online sports wagering market is expected to reach $155 billion by 2024, according to Zion Market Research.
“As we said in our third quarter earnings announcement last month, FuboTV sees the online wagering space as complementary to our sports-first live TV streaming platform,” stated David Gandler, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “We believe there are significant synergies between consumers who enjoy wagering and our subscribers who enjoy streaming live sports, creating a flywheel opportunity… One of our goals with wagering is to expand our total available market by developing another important revenue stream, as we are doing with our growing ad sales business.”
The Balto Sports acquisition “will enable us to build a first class, free to play experience that brings consumers the best games around live sports,” Gandler added. “From there, we see a natural progression to layer on real money wagering in regulated markets, complementing FuboTV’s live-streaming video… We will be strategic in our approach to wagering as we consider and evaluate different opportunities and will adjust our plans accordingly.”