FuboTV is testing free Roku contests in sports betting
FuboTV subscribers might notice something new this week by tapping into the service’s South American World Cup qualifying coverage.
In FuboTV’s Roku and Android apps, viewers will be able to view a live stats dashboard by scrolling through the video stream. From there, they’ll be able to answer a handful of quiz questions – for example, “Which team will score the first in the second half?” – for a chance to win a free year of service from Fubo, which normally costs $ 65 per month.
It might sound nifty, but Fubo says it’s part of a larger plan to allow people to bet on games through their TVs. Fubo plans to launch a bookie in the fourth quarter of this year, but starting with something a little lighter, Fubo hopes to find out how much interaction people expect from their TV screens and which users would also be inclined to bet from. real money. .
“Our assumption is that this will be a driver of engagement, but also in a broader perspective, it’s sort of our first step towards our overall gaming strategy,” says Mike Berkley, Product Manager for FuboTV.
FuboTV is one of several companies in the television industry that sees gaming as a potential cash cow, especially as the rising cost of sports and declining pay-TV audiences threaten the industry. traditional chain activity. Still, gambling betting remains illegal in many states, and Fubo is a fairly small streaming service. His only choice at the moment is to act slowly as he builds his audience and pushes for more legalized sports betting.
More contests to come
For now, FuboTV’s live stats and contests are beta features limited to Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) qualifiers, which Fubo has the exclusive broadcasting rights. And while live stats will also be available on Fire TV devices in the coming days, contests will only appear on Roku players and Android mobile devices to begin with.
But Fubo plans to grow on both fronts over time. Contest support is coming soon to Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, and the web, and Fubo aims to bring the contests out of beta in time for the fall football season. The service could potentially add contests for other types of content beyond sports.
“Think of this as a platform feature, where we can create a more enhanced viewing experience for every type of content we provide on the platform,” he says.
David Gandler, co-founder and CEO of FuboTV, also pitches the idea of using contests as an advertising tool, with companies offering the chance to win a car or a free pizza. It will also collect data on which viewers are most interested in the contests, hoping to entice them to bet once Fubo’s bookmaker is launched.
“This allows us to isolate people who are competitive and interested in additional opportunities,” says Gandler. “Some people will probably prefer to have more skins in the game than just contests.”
Fubo didn’t give many details on how his bookmaker works, but the company insists that being able to control the entire experience is essential. By combining data from both the streaming side and the betting side, Fubo believes he can more closely interweave the acts of watching and playing on live games.
“Acting on the video will have an impact on the bets available to you,” says Berkley. “The bets you make will impact what is recommended to you on the video side.”
Gandler gives a few examples: A viewer who tends to bet only on hockey games in the third period might see a recommendation to go online after the first two periods have ended. Or, a spectator who enjoys betting on field goals in soccer might be able to switch between matches where teams are in the red zone.
“It’s going to be very fluid and very immersive,” he says.
FuboTV isn’t alone in wanting to increase TV revenue through gaming. In March, Dish Network added a DraftKings application to its satellite TV boxes, allowing users to watch and bet on games at the same time. Sinclair recently sold the naming rights for its regional sports networks to hotels and casinos in Bally, and plans to offer an independent streaming service for these channels with a betting component next year. Launch of NBCUniversal a companion show of paris at the PGA Tour on Peacock in February, and Disney started allude to a betting component for ESPN +.
Still, FuboTV has a few major obstacles in its path.
The most important is the regulatory approval to run your own bookmaker. So far, Fubo has only confirmed plans to launch in three states – Iowa, Indiana and New Jersey – but does not yet have permission to operate in any of them. . Even sports betting giant DraftKings only operates in 11 states, and half of the US states have not legalized sports betting at all, according to the American Gaming Association.
Gandler is optimistic, saying the main obstacle is working with regulators to decide where the guardrails are located. “I believe the regulator’s job is to protect consumers,” he said. “Their job is not to stop you from developing a product.”
Even as online sports betting support becomes more prevalent, Fubo has a more fundamental challenge: It operates an expensive live TV package at a time when more and more customers are abandoning offerings in favor of less stand-alone services. Dear. As FuboTV grows – the company gained 42,550 subscribers in the last quarter, bringing its total to 590,430 – pay-TV subscriptions as a whole fell by 1.4 million in the last quarter.
These trends may explain why so many companies are keen to offer sports betting in the first place: it could be a way for them to offset the ever-increasing costs of making live sports. Companies like Sinclair, for example, might be more inclined to offer regional sports channels outside of pay-TV bundles if they can increase their profits through betting. FuboTV, meanwhile, may be able to make its over-the-air TV service more affordable.
“If things go well and we’ve added an additional source of income, we’ll look to balance that,” says Gandler. “Given that sports betting is profitable – it has a margin, we think, targeting around 50% – it would be in our best interest to see what we can do about it. [bring in] more people.”
In other words, watching sports live can still be an expensive business, but only if you are betting against the house.