Fanatics’ Rob Brazer Discusses The Future Of U.S. Sports Betting

Fanatics’ Rob Brazer Discusses The Future Of U.S. Sports Betting
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton
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Fanatics, the global online retailer of sports memorabilia and merchandise, worked for a couple of years on its quest to break into sports betting. After a lengthy beta testing process in four states, the company’s official rollout of its online sports betting app came in mid-August.

That launch came less than two months after the company agreed to buy PointsBet’s U.S. operations for $225 million, a move that fueled Fanatics’ plans to grow rapidly across the country, including the recent North Carolina sports betting launch. The launch also came just one week after PENN Entertainment announced it would rebrand its online sports betting app under the ESPN name. ESPN Bet started taking bets three months later.

The two newest national sports betting apps were among the biggest stories in gaming last year, but did ESPN Bet have an impact on Fanatics’ plans?

Not really, according to Rob Brazer, the vice president of product for Fanatics Betting and Gaming.

“We have our reasons to believe if you want to call them that, for why we think that we will be successful as a business and an experience that customers really enjoy,” Brazer told earlier this month. “ESPN, obviously, is synonymous with sports. So, that’s an awesome brand that PENN can use to help grow their business. But it really didn’t change anything strategically about what we were doing to try to build the best product, create the best loyalty program and really just speak to everything that sports fans want.”

In the second part of BetCarolina’s interview with Brazer, the North Carolina native and resident talks about the future of U.S. sports betting, how Fanatics plans to gain market share and when (or if) the company might incorporate any of PointsBet’s innovations into its own product.

Read the first part of this conversation here: North Carolina Sports Betting 1-on-1: Rob Brazer Brings Fanatics To His Home State

Brazer’s comments have been edited lightly for brevity.

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Q&A With Fanatics’ Rob Brazer

Q: A lot of people within the industry talk about sports betting being early in the game – be it the first quarter or the first or second inning. Considering that, how do you see the game evolving, and how will Fanatics evolve with that for the next five years and beyond?

Rob Brazer: “Innovation is always happening in this space. Same-game parlays were a really new thing for the U.S. It’s what everyone talks about currently, and we have some things that we’re working on that are trying to be kind of the next same-game parlay or create that same level of excitement, not exactly the same mechanism by which to do so.

“I really think that with the market being where it is right now, available in about half the states and having about a five-and-a-half-year history, basically, of operating within the U.S. that it’s only going to become more flexible for what you want to do as a customer. For example, being able to bet shot-by-shot markets in golf. Is Rory (McIlroy) going to hit this within 20 feet or outside of 20 feet from 175 yards away? It’s really helping augment and increase the fun of the experience.

“We have the U.S. Open at Pinehurst (County Club in North Carolina) in June, and for us having golf offerings out there and being able to do things like, who’s going to win the first round, head-to-head matchups. Things like that for people who like to follow golfers are just going to be a great experience that will make everyone excited about it. And I think the innovation will make that more fun over time as this industry matures.”

Q: FanDuel and DraftKings have sizeable leads in terms of market share early in the game over everyone else. Pretend you’re a coach, what does Fanatics have to do to cut into their advantage? Or does Fanatics need to cut into BetMGM, Caesars and ESPN Bet to narrow that gap?

RB: “For us, we believe that if we have the best product offering and experience and give them a reason to want to bet with us, that’s our main thing. As far as what the competition is doing, we obviously, like anyone, keep an eye on it, but for us, that’s not going to change the fact that we believe the best product is going to win the day.

“And yes, we have four-and-a-half years of development time, at least, to catch up on U.S.-based (operators), and for your ones with European roots, they’ve been operational for over 10 years. So, we do have a good bit of difference to make up. But we’ve made some intentional investments in technology to close that gap as fast as possible, and the rate at which we’re delivering changes and updates is pretty incredible.

“You’ve got to respect what those guys do. They know the market very well. They’re being very successful. Capturing almost 80% of all market share between two companies is very impressive. But we think we’ve just got to acquire customers efficiently, speak to the needs of fans and then the rest of the business part will come through.”

Q: Has Fanatics been able to leverage any of the PointsBet technology or marketing? I remember they were big on their points betting markets when they started here. Is that something Fanatics may look to bring back, or is there anything else from PointsBet Fanatics may be able to leverage?

RB: “It’s always on the table. Point betting is something that was a very fun product. It’s also a very niche product, where the amount of people who enjoy it is really on the long tail. It’s always on the table. It’s something we’re going to bring back, but right now, we don’t really plan to, at least in the next like month or so. Things could change. We’re moving fast.

“As far as the technology, yes. One of the things that we loved about PointsBet was their ability to create markets and manage those markets. Every week, we’re leveraging more and more of what they did to have those same offerings on our side. One of the biggest things about this partnership is that it’s been a huge tailwind for us. Just to be able to have better markets, more efficient pricing, and better pricing. That’s probably the biggest thing we’ve gotten from PointsBet in addition to their existing customer base and all the great people that work there.”

Fanatics North Carolina Sportsbook is offering odds on the NCAA Tournament. Connecticut is currently the favorite to defend its title, with odds at +400. North Carolina is the sixth choice on the board at +1700. Bettors can wager on Duke at +3000, and surprising ACC Tournament champion N.C. State is a +25000 longshot.

Stay with for the latest sports betting updates and the best North Carolina sportsbook promos!

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Steve Bittenbender
Steve Bittenbender
Sports Betting Expert & Insider

As a writer and analyst for, Steve not only covers gaming news and developments in North Carolina but also provides insights into what they mean for bettors, licensed operators and the state. <br> <br> Steve’s been featured in Axios, Queen City News, 97.9 The Hill, WNCT, CBS 17, WWAY, Spectrum News and several other news outlets across the Tar Heel State. He’s interviewed influential leaders in sports, {{anchor("gaming"," - News - Filtered",44394,"","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}} and politics. Over the past year, he’s covered the legalization of statewide {{anchor("North Carolina sports betting"," - Homepage","","","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}} as well as the discussion about approving commercial casinos. <br> <br> Back in August, Steve first reported that {{anchor("a March launch"," - News - Filtered",39792,"","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}} was most likely for North Carolina sports betting. <br> <br> Steve has broken news about {{anchor("what North Carolina sports betting apps will be available"," - News - Filtered",48516,"","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}}, and {{anchor("the state's launch"," - News - Filtered",45236,"","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}}. He has also covered {{anchor("how North Carolina college athletics programs stand to benefit from it"," - News - Filtered",38021,"","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}} and {{anchor("changes made to the sports betting law in the state budget"," - News - Filtered",40726,"","","","gtm-content-internal-links")|raw}}. <br> <br> A veteran journalist with 25 years of experience covering sports, politics and business, Steve has reported on the gambling industry intently over the past five years, an era that has seen sports betting proliferate across the country in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling overturning PASPA. <br> <br> You can also find Steve providing news updates and insights on his X account @BittGDCG.

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