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FuboTV Ditches Independent Sportsbook Plans, Will Evaluate Other Betting Options – SportTechie

Sports streaming service FuboTV is adjusting its betting strategy “in light of the current economic environment” to no longer pursue operating its own independent online sportsbook, the company said in its Q2 earnings report on Thursday. The company currently operates its Fubo Sportsbook app in Iowa and Arizona and expects to also launch in New Jersey ahead of the upcoming NFL season.
“We continue to believe that an integrated wagering platform, offering both live video and a sportsbook, will result in the best viewing and gaming experience for consumers,” Fubo said in a letter to shareholders. “However, as we have evaluated how best to scale these capabilities in today’s market, we have concluded that we will no longer pursue this opportunity on our own. Accordingly, our interactive wagering business is under strategic review. We are in internal and external discussions to determine the best path forward for Fubo’s gaming business and look forward to sharing more information.”
The decision suggests that FuboTV could pursue alternate methods to offer betting, such as by partnering with an existing competing sportsbook. Fubo has been among the most aggressive streaming services to integrate sports betting directly into its live TV viewing experience since it acquired the sports betting app Vigtory in January 2021. FuboTV subscribers have been able to navigate their smart TV to access free-to-play prediction games while watching live sports, while viewers in Iowa and Arizona have been able to scan an on-screen QR code with their phone to place real-money bets via the Fubo Sportsbook.
“While our disciplined sportsbook progress continues, in light of a rapidly-evolving macro-economic environment, we believe it is important to be even more capital efficient than originally scoped,” reads Fubo’s shareholder letter. “We are taking steps to de-risk our business and have made the decision to no longer go down the wagering path independently. As a result, we’re evaluating strategic opportunities for our wagering business.”
Fubo has signed gaming sponsorships with NASCAR and the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as a deal with the New York Jets that saw a Fubo Sportsbook lounge installed at MetLife Stadium last NFL season. Other sports streaming services active in the ‘watch and bet’ space include The Rugby Network, which partnered with Tappp and Australian sportsbook PlayUp to let fans place bets directly though their smart TV during Major League Rugby matches.
Fox will use more than 24 cameras from Sony to broadcast MLB’s Field of Dreams game on Thursday between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. The game will again be played in Dyersville, Iowa, near the filming location of the titular 1989 baseball movie.
Last year’s inaugural MLB at Field of Dreams game on Fox between the Yankees and White Sox drew drew nearly six million viewers and was the most-watched regular-season baseball game on any network since 1998. Fox will use Sony’s HDC-F5500 S35mm camera to capture shots with shallow depth of field during the upcoming broadcast in attempt display emotional cinematic shots that remind viewers of scenes from the 1989 movie. Fox will also use Sony’s HDC-5500 4K Global shutter imager HDR/SDR camera system to show shots at super slow speed throughout the broadcast. Some of the other cameras capturing the game include Sony’s HDC-P50 and HDC-P31, or robotically operated cameras.
Fox used multiple aerial production drones during last year’s Field of Dreams broadcast, the first time in MLB history that multiple drones were used for a game broadcast. Drones from the Drone Racing League were also used during production of last year’s game to capture footage for social media content in partnership with T-Mobile.
The Major League Soccer Players Association is partnering with blockchain gaming company Splinterlands to develop Genesis League Soccer, a new play-to-earn game for desktop and mobile devices. The game will let users collect and trade in-game cards of MLS players as NFTs.
Users can build lineups with their MLS player cards to compete in digital soccer matches against card collections from other users. Splinterlands plans to make Genesis League Soccer as the first product as part of its new blockchain-based gaming network called Genesis League Sports. The company is best known for its Splinterlands mobile game released last year that lets users collect NFT cards of fictional creatures.
OneTeam Partners facilitated the deal for MLSPA. Splinterlands is at least the third NFT-related partnership for MLSPA, which also had a partnership with fantasy soccer game Sorare to create digital trading cards of MLS players. MLS and the MLSPA also struck a deal with GreenPark Sports earlier this year, a sports metaverse app that lets users collect digital soccer jerseys as NFTs to dress their in-game avatars.
V1 Sports has enhanced both its golf and baseball swing analysis apps by providing athletes with access to online lessons, automated cloud storage and customized interactive feedback from elite coaches.
Known for using a sensor-embedded pressure mat to calculate the ground force a hitter or golfer generates during a swing, V1’s new apps intend to hasten the way players and coaches can connect virtually. With golf, users can submit videos of their swing and import voice-over analysis from well-known coaches such as Mike Bender, Dana Dahlquist, Jake Thurm or Tom Saguto. The golf app also offers V1’s Model Swing library, allowing users to stream side-by-side comparisons of historically elite players to their smartphones.
With the baseball app, hitters can train virtually with former Major Leaguer Dave Hanson, the current Cincinnati Reds minor league hitting coordinator who recently installed the V1 product at his baseball academy. Alternatively, players can also train online with staff members from the North Carolina-based Baseball Rebellion facility.
As with golf, hitters can send their videos, which are automatically saved to the cloud, to V1-affiliated coaches for feedback and suggested drills. V1 has significant connections all over baseball. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is a company brand ambassador, while his former Los Angeles teammate Scott Van Slyke was instrumental in the product’s launch in November of 2020.
A calendar year ago, V1 sports secured funding from Black Cat Ventures, a golfing tech fund headed by Michael Jordan. On the baseball side, V1 has installed high-speed cameras and video analysis software at the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center. At the time, the company claimed it had more than three million athletes and 10,000 coaches as users.
Link My Ride, a cycling community app co-founded by two professional cyclists, has received funding from the Dutch Sports Tech Fund in advance of its global launch later this year.
British rider Tom Pidcock, who at 23 became the youngest winner of the famed Alpe d’Huez climbing stage of the Tour de France last month, is one of the co-founders of Link My Ride along with retired cyclist Jacques Sauvagnargues. The goal of the mobile app is to connect riders, cycling clubs and brands. Users, for example, can contact each other to find riding partners.
In a post on the Dutch Sports Tech Fund site, Sauvagnargues said Link My Ride is most popular in the UK and Canada so far, with the Canadian Cycling Federation having come on board as its first investor. The app is targeting the Netherlands next through this strategic partnership. The company is also committed to creating social good and is supporting Qhubeka, an African nonprofit that donates bicycles to those who cannot afford one.
The Croatia Open, an ATP event staged last week in Umag, was enhanced digitally through a WhatsApp chatbot that significantly increased its global audience.
The tournament’s technological partner, Infobip—a cloud communications firm headquartered in Seattle, Wash.—developed the chatbot on its software platform Answers. According to the company, at least 86 percent of the Croatia Open’s viewers sent at least two messages on WhatsApp, while there were chatbot users from 44 different countries. Infobip also claims there was an average of 16.3 messages per chat session.
By scanning a QR code to activate chatbot, Croatia Open fans were able to access the tournament schedule, entertainment options, player bios and tickets, among others. There was also a tennis quiz on WhatsApp with prizes going to winners.
In the past nine months, the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Brewers have launched chatbot applications through Facebook Messenger to better connect with fans. The first MLB team to partner with GameOn Technology, the Brewers Facebook Messenger page currently gives fans live updates, scores, highlight videos and player information.
Tennis legend John McEnroe and actor Will Ferrell will host a live audio stream on Mixhalo during LAFC’s home match against Charlotte FC on Aug. 13. The commentary will be exclusively available to fans attending the match at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium who download the free Mixhalo app to listen through their phone or connected headphones.
McEnroe and Ferrell, who became an LAFC co-owner in 2016, will provide commentary of the soccer match on Mixhalo alongside Fox LA broadcaster Mark Rogondino. Mixhalo is a real-time audio platform intended to be used by fans when they attend live events, and it has previously hosted in-venue audio activations with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
Mixhalo’s mobile app will additionally stream separate audio feeds during the Aug. 13 match hosted by LAFC play-by-play commentators Max Bretos (English language) and Armando Aguayo (Spanish language). Fortress Investment Group led Mixhalo’s $24 million Series B funding round last year.
Sodexo Live!, a hospitality and concessions partner for sports and entertainment venues, has launched a new North America Innovation Lab to work with startups developing products to improve venue operations and the fan experience at live events. Startups can apply for Sodexo Live!’s new North American accelerator program through Sept. 12. The program is being held in partnership with global innovation specialist L Marks.
The accelerator is looking for startups whose solutions address themes such as:
Selected startups will work with mentors over a ten-week program to trial their products in a live event environment.
Sodexo Live! Recently signed a deal through 2026 to become the hospitality partner for the French Open at Roland Garros. The company handles hospitality, food and beverage services for U.S. venues such as Nashville Superspeedway, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Earlier this MLB season, Sodexo Live! opened an Amazon Just Walk Out store at T-Mobile Park for fans during Mariners games.
Among Sodexo Live!’s competitors in the venue hospitality space is Levy, which launched its DBK Studio innovation arm earlier this year that operates similarly to Sodexo’s new accelerator. DBK Studio partners with technology startups to deploy new services across Levy’s 250 venues, such as adding Mantis XR’s QR codes to the St. Louis Blues’ arena to power a new online virtual locker room merchandise shopping platform for fans.
“We literally receive a hundred inbound ideas a month from companies that feel they’ve created the magic elixir to achieve fan, guest nirvana,” Levy president & CEO Andy Lansing told Sports Business Journal. “What DBK Studio does is, through a team of experts in all areas of our business, formalizes the process by which we bring new technology to market.”
Levy’s DBK Studio also worked with drone delivery startup Valqari to add drone deliveries for fans ordering food at Purdue University’s baseball field. American Airlines Center, home to the Dallas Mavericks, collaborated with DBK Studio to debut two autonomous checkout-free food and beverage stores in April that are powered by Standard AI’s computer vision cameras.
Another hospitality and concessionaire provider to sports venues alongside Sodexo Live! and Levy is Aramark, which has partnered with TendedBar to add its facial recognition-powered cocktail ordering machine to Empower Field at Mile High, the home of the Denver Broncos. Aramark also debuted mobile robot food delivery for fans at Capital One Arena during NHL playoff games in May through its partnership with delivery robot startup Tortoise.
HEIR, the emerging digital fan token platform co-founded by Michael Jordan’s son Jeffrey, has secured another NBA player as a member-ambassador. 
Anthony “Ant-Man’’ Edwards, the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, joins Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls and Bennedict Mathurin of the Indiana Pacers as an HEIR partner. Starting Thursday of this week, fans can buy early memberships to witness Edwards’ autumn journey on HEIR. Not only will members have direct access to Edwards’ Web3 activities, they can receive autographed memorabilia and potentially attend Edwards’ August 18 membership event in Atlanta, where they can witness one of his live off-season workouts. 
Members could also have the chance to participate in “digital content co-creation’’ with Edwards while in Atlanta. HEIR initially launched last December after Jordan and his son received $10 million in seed funding. The company, whose mission is to jump the Web2 to Web3 gap by transforming sports fans into owners, has previously released Lonzo Ball NFTs in collaboration with streetwear designer Don C and Web3 lifestyle developers, Okay Bears. 
The Pac-12 Conference has announced a new video-sharing tool to help its student-athletes monetize their game highlights on social media. This is the first commercial product to be developed in the conference’s collaboration with Tempus Ex Machina and will be amplified through a partnership between Twitter and Opendorse to secure name, image, likeness compensation for athletes through the Opendorse NIL marketplace.
Tempus Ex, which partnered with the Pac-12 in March, will leverage FusionFeed—its low-latency data and video feed—to make personalized game highlights available immediately after each game. The product is rolling out first to Pac-12 athletes in football and men’s and women’s basketball, with the other sports to follow. Tempus Ex is able to provide every available angle of every play and automate the process to deliver relevant clips to each player, who can opt into the program. Social media companies can then create monetization programs that build on these videos.
The Pac-12 was the first NCAA conference to make game highlights available to student-athletes for NIL opportunities. Tempus Ex completed a Series B round last September and has also partnered with the NFL. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is among its investors and board members.
Twitter became the first social media platform to disclose its plans for helping college athletes monetize their name, image and likeness when it struck its agreement with Opendorse in June 2021. A portion of the pre-roll advertising on the video clips shared by Pac-12 athletes on their personal Twitter accounts will go to the user.
Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk will own a team this fall in the debut football season of SimWin Sports Metaverse, a new digital league that lets customers purchase player NFTs and use them in competition for potential cash earnings.
A metaverse-based combination of fantasy football, esports and sports betting, SimWin has accumulated a Who’s Who list of team owners. In addition to Faulk—whose team will be named the San Diego Battleships—franchises will also belong to Magic Johnson, Jerry Rice and Mike Singletary.
SimWin claims fans can collaborate with the team’s celebrity owners by “collecting, trading and managing virtual players.’’ Single-day and season-long fantasy competitions will also take place during the football season, as well as sports wagering.
The league’s CEO, David J. Ortiz, formerly led the development of EA Sports’ Madden franchise and is intent on having SimWin branch off to other sports such as basketball later in the fall.


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