The combined company, which will be renamed Betsperts Media and Technology Group, is hoping to become the go-to place for sports fans to crowdsource information, brag about their picks and get the latest news about player transactions and starting lineups.
The next steps will be to raise money, which it plans to invest into content, such as studio shows. CEO Reid Rooney said the group is in the early stages of raising roughly $8 million in Series A financing.
“Building communities and connecting users with people that they want to listen to, follow or get advice from has been a huge goal of ours, and at this point, we’ve built two platforms that can do that, one specifically for fantasy and one specially for gambling,” Rooney said in an interview. “As we move forward together, crossing some of the gambling into fantasy, and fantasy into gambling, and using the technology and user base from both platforms is going to be a priority.”
As legal sports betting continues to spread across the U.S., the industry is looking toward social media as a way to increase engagement and interactions. If bettors can brag about bets, crowdsource information and discuss odds, the thinking goes, they’re more likely to keep wagering.
There’s obviously nothing preventing that from happening on the behemoth platforms, like Twitter or Facebook, and Betsperts may soon face competition from the large operators as well. On an earnings call earlier this month, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins announced the creation of a new integrated social media community that will launch on the company’s platform in the coming weeks. Rooney, however, said he doesn’t necessarily view those efforts as competitive with Betsperts.
“The more that gamblers engage with social content of any sort, that’s better for the industry, and better for Betsperts,” Rooney said.
Betsperts was founded in 2018 by Rooney and Austin Harper. Fantasy Life App launched two years prior. Its backers include ESPN’s Matthew Berry, NASCAR racer Kyle Busch, Atlanta Hawks limited partner Jesse Itzler and a trio of MLB players—Adam Wainwright, Evan Longoria and David Price.
The two platforms had more than 10 million total monthly visits during the 2020 NFL season. The combined company will make money primarily in three main avenues—affiliate fees, for users it refers to operators; more straight forward advertising; and a subscription model for its most serious players.
Berry, who is ESPN’s senior fantasy football analyst, is joining the Betsperts board.