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Jay Z and Fanatics Double Down on Sports Betting

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Jay Z and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin (via Getty Images)

by Dan Runcie

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Three weeks ago, Jay Z made a bid for a sports betting license in New York with Fanatics. The news comes after the sports apparel company raised $325 million and is now valued at $18 billion.

An untapped opportunity. The rise of sports gambling in media has been dominated by companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, and Barstool Sportsbook. They succeed because they leaned into that male fraternity culture. “Saturdays are for the boys,” and those boys like to gamble on sports.

But that’s not the only audience that loves to bet on sports! Jay and Fanatics Betting and Gaming can reach the gamblers who:

-are Tidal subscribers
-bought a Roc Nation paper plane hat
-still argue about why they would rather have dinner with Jay Z than $50,000

That’s a few to name off the top, but there’s more.

Diving deeper. Fanatics Sports Book has a lot going for it, but it should lean into two things.

First, it should have a media partnership to boost engagement. For instance, Cash App leveraged hip-hop stars as social media influencers for free cash giveaways, and it also did a long-term sponsorship with The Joe Budden Podcast. Fanatics has the hip-hop influencer options already since CEO Michael Rubin has close ties to both Jay and Meek Mill. But it would benefit from having a hip-hop media personality as a longtime sponsor too.

Second, and relatedly, Fanatics can’t rely on Jay Z’s brand solely. Jay is well-respected in Black culture, but his lifestyle isn’t relatable to the average sports gambler. He’s out here taking photos next to never-before-seen Basquiats! He doesn’t give off the impression of someone who would say, “Shit. Just lost $500 on the Cowboys vs Buccaneers opening night game but it’s a long season! We’ll bounce back.”

Fanatics Sports Book needs that person to push the brand as well. That’s what the other gaming-media brands and partnerships have done well.

Those voices are out there, especially in Black culture. It doesn’t have to be an internal move either. It could be a partnership like DraftKings has with sports journalist Dan Le Batard. It’s still early, but let’s see which strategy the Fanatics Sports Book will take.

Read more about Fanatics Betting and Gaming in Variety.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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