North Carolina Sports Betting 1-on-1: Rob Brazer Brings Fanatics To His Home State

North Carolina Sports Betting 1-on-1: Rob Brazer Brings Fanatics To His Home State

It’s not every day you get to introduce your state to online sports betting, but Monday will be that day for North Carolina native and resident Rob Brazer, the vice president of product for Fanatics Betting and Gaming. Fanatics will launch along with other North Carolina sportsbook apps.

The launch in the Tar Heel State will also cap what has been a busy year for Fanatics Sportsbook, which first launched in Tennessee and Ohio last May. Fanatics North Carolina will mark the company’s 16th state, an expansion hastened by the acquisition of PointsBet’s U.S. sites last summer.

One way Fanatics has tried to earn customer share in the sports betting market is by tying its retail FanCash loyalty program to the sportsbook and allow bettors to earn more rewards dollars just by placing a wager. Those rewards, which can equal up to 5% of the wager, can then be used as either bonus wagers or toward the purchase of merchandise at a Fanatics website.

The Raleigh native spoke recently with from PNC Arena, the home rink of the Carolina Hurricanes — Fanatics’ North Carolina sports betting partner. The conversation touched on how the operator acquires customers, what the company has learned during the past year and has applied that to Monday’s launch.

Brazer’s comments have been edited lightly for brevity.

Must be 21+ to participate & present in NC. T&Cs Apply. Play Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 877-718-5543 or visit

Q & A With Fanatics' Rob Brazer

Q: What’s it been like to rollout Fanatics in your home state?

Rob Brazer: “It's been a lot of fun. We've launched 15 states basically in the past 365 days. From a ‘how's it going’ standpoint, it's like we've flexed this muscle a little bit. It's more of a rinse-and-repeat sort of thing, but the most exciting part about North Carolina is frankly, that it’s a brand-new market. 

“Some of those other states that we entered had already been operational for a while, and with that, you have customers with set preferences and loyalty. For us, a state like North Carolina, it really offers an opportunity for us to win over sports bettors, because we're on a more equal playing field than a customer who has a four-, five- or six-year history with a particular sportsbook.”

Q: How helpful is having the Fanatics brand and a database of millions of sports fans who have bought merchandise through it? How much outreach has there been with them in leading up to Monday’s launch?

RB: “What we try to do is, with our partnership with the Hurricanes for example, we send out an email that basically just lets fans know that we're coming and gives them an opportunity to opt into more information about betting. We don't want to beat people over the head with it. It's not for everyone, and that's okay. We just want to make sure that customers know that.”

“For your specific question, the Fanatics ecosystem and database is one of the things that: a) should allow us to acquire customers more efficiently than other groups. Now, we also have great data on our customers. If you looked at my Fanatics purchase history, you'd see a bunch of UNC and Carolina Hurricanes stuff. When I’m now using the sportsbook and it's tied to the same email, you're going to know ‘Hey, Rob probably wants to bet on (North Carolina basketball players) Armando Bacot or RJ Davis or (Hurricanes forward) Andrei Svechnikov to score. 

“It's a huge advantage because — We call ourselves the most rewarding sportsbook. It's the best loyalty program that’s out there — you can convert it dollar for dollar into bonus bets that you can play. You can earn FanCash on both commerce and on betting and gaming, and you can also burn it and go earn-and-burn on both platforms as well. 

“We obviously have aspirations to expand that program wider for what you can use it with and really leverage our network to create bespoke experiences that can provide access to exclusive events not many people can get into. Do you want to buy entries into a drawing or do you just want to pay out right for it? It's really an opportunity to build a full end-to-end sports experience for people.”

Q: On the FanCash, is Fanatics seeing more people use it to make bets or buy merchandise?

RB: “They're doing both. I think most of them are right now skewing more towards reinvesting that in the sportsbook and converting it into a bonus bet and placing a bet. We feel good about the signal we've received from customers using it on the retail side, too. ‘Hey, I placed a bunch of bets, and now I have $100 in FanCash. Now, I have my jersey that I want.’ It's fun to see that, and the thing about the jersey or the merchandise is it's tangible. You don't really remember your bonus bet a month later but you remember because you're wearing your jersey, ‘Oh, this was because of fanatics and that loyal and the loyalty that they rewarded me with by giving me the opportunity to buy this.’” 

Q:  As far as the launch goes, North Carolina is similar to Kentucky in that it’s a universal launch for approved operators. What were the lessons Fanatics learned from Kentucky that you’re looking to apply in North Carolina?

RB: “Anytime we do a launch, we always look back at what has happened in recent launches and try to see what we can do better with a goal of just getting better with every single one. I think we had some learning, especially on the pre-registration side from our Kentucky launch, and just applying those to making that pre-registration experience for customers that much better. So we’re just trying to build a little bit earlier buzz, I would say, and making sure that we're leveraging the option that we have to offer pre-registration.”

Part two of the conversation, which will appear later this week, will include Brazer’s comments on how changes in the U.S. sports betting market have affected Fanatics and where the industry may be heading in the next few years.

Check out our Fanatics North Carolina sportsbook page! 

Must be 21+ to participate & present in NC. T&Cs Apply. Play Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 877-718-5543 or visit


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. 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.

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