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Fanatics hires finance chief for sports-betting division before launch


Andrea Ellis has been appointed CFO of Fanatics Betting & Gaming.

Source: Fanatics

Fanatics is getting one step closer to launching its highly anticipated sports-gambling division, nearly five years after the Supreme Court overturned the rule stopping states from legalizing bets on sporting events.

The sports platform and e-commerce company, which has been valued at greater than $27 billion, said Tuesday it hired Andrea Ellis to be the chief financial officer of its betting and gaming division. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said last week the corporate expects to launch the unit in January.

Fanatics enters a crowded market in an uncertain economy at a time some executives say is ripe for consolidation. Yet Rubin is betting the corporate’s e-commerce success will translate into sports-betting customers.

Ellis brings expertise in technology, products and operations to the Fanatics executive team. She worked as CFO at Lime, the biggest electric scooter and bike share company, for the past two years. Previously, she worked with Burger King owner Restaurant Brands.

At Fanatics, she will likely be tasked with scaling the brand new division and providing strategic and operational leadership, the corporate said.

She’ll report back to Matt King, Fanatics Betting and Gaming CEO, who previously was CEO at FanDuel. “We’re thrilled to welcome Andrea to our team as we inch closer to formally launching a recent, dynamic online sports-betting and gaming product for fans,” King said.

A January launch would coincide with the very lucrative NFL playoffs. By the beginning of football season next autumn, Fanatics anticipates being up and running all over the place it’s legal to do business.

“We’ll be in every major state aside from Recent York, where you may’t make cash,” Rubin said at a Sports Business Journal World Congress of Sports event. Last fall, Fanatics applied for a mobile-betting license in Recent York, but was not chosen.

Rubin predicts sports betting and Fanatics’ other business segments “may very well be $8 billion, even in the subsequent decade, in profits.”

With greater than 50 sports-betting operators emerging in recent times, led by Flutter-owned FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM (co-owned by MGM Resorts and Entain), Fanatics is late to the party. The fight for market share is intense and the primary sportsbooks to get licensed incessantly say they see first-mover advantage.

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe told CNBC on the Global Gaming Expo this month that she thinks it’s only a matter of time before the industry consolidates.

“It isn’t inconceivable to think that the highest two or three [operators] will drive somewhere between 60, potentially 70% of the market,” she added.

DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said size will matter.

“I do think that you’re going to proceed to see that the benefits of having scale the way in which Amy’s [Howe] company does and mine are increasingly more apparent as more states roll out and more revenues coming through the industry,” he told CNBC on the gaming industry conference.

Size and scale make Fanatics a formidable future competitor, even within the eyes of the present market leaders. Thanks largely to his wide business network and Fanatics’ 94 million customer database, Rubin was in a position to raise a further $1.5 billion in March with investments from Fidelity, BlackRock and Michael Dell.

Fanatics plans to tap into its network by utilizing a loyalty program across all of its businesses, in response to Rubin: “You purchase merchandise? You are incented to game. You gamble? You are incented to get a collectible.”

“So our patience saved us money,” Rubin said. “I’d slightly let everyone spend their brains out after which must make cash, then I are available in with an enormous checkbook and I’m spending money when no one else can.”

Fanatics is a three-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company. Enroll for our weekly, original newsletter that goes beyond the annual Disruptor 50 list, offering a better have a look at private corporations like Fanatics that proceed to innovate across every sector of the economy.

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