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 Play MA‘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
Matthew Bain Avatar
Written by

Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as Content Manager at Play MA in 2022. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register’s recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet’s high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he’s somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story. Matthew also led coverage of Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 in the California sports betting election battle for Catena Media.

View all posts by Matthew Bain