When it comes to getting sports fans into the game, no one does it quite like fuboTV (NYSE:FUBO). The premium video service, which bills itself as the leading "sports-first" platform, was the first live TV streaming offering to broadcast available programming in 4K. Now it's making a bigger play to give its growing subscriber base more skin in the game.
FuboTV announced after Tuesday's market close that it's acquiring Balto Sports, a developer of online tools for fantasy sports gaming. The initial plan is to leverage Balto's contest automation software with its own proprietary technology to introduce a free-to-play gaming offering. It will then use that foot in the door to make a bigger play for the lucrative online wagering market. The strategy has worked out nicely for DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG). It only makes sense for fuboTV to keep calling the play that works.
Betting on betting
There's a lot going for fuboTV these days. It has carved out a lucrative niche as the top choice among live TV services for sports fans. Folks aren't flinching at the $65-a-month subscription price, and its popularity is exploding since the major sports leagues resumed their interrupted seasons this summer.
FuboTV had 286,000 paid subscribers at the end of June, soaring to 455,000 accounts just three months later. As it geared up to go public over the summer, it told investors it was targeting 410,000 to 420,000 year-end paid subscribers. It blew through that milestone in the third quarter. FuboTV has jacked up its guidance in back-to-back months, and it now expects to close out 2020 with 500,000 to 510,000 paid subscribers.
With pro forma revenue up 71% over the past year and average revenue per user climbing, one would think that fuboTV doesn't need the wagering kicker to spice things up. Yet it's also perfectly positioned to cash in on the trend. DraftKings has emerged as the top dog in fantasy sports. It's used that pole position to establish strong working relationships with sports networks. Now it's a major player with real sports gambling through its sportsbook subsidiary. FuboTV could be following in the same footsteps.
We're talking Trojan horses here -- and not the hacker kind. Fantasy sports for DraftKings and live streaming TV for fuboTV have each proven magnetic for fans and sports broadcasters. Once that foot is in the door, why wouldn't DraftKings and fuboTV become a gateway to the lucrative gambling market? As fuboTV's own press release for the Balto Sports acquisition points out, online sports wagering is expected to be a $155 billion market by 2024, according to Zion Market Research.
Even if it winds up with a thin slice of that pie -- and who knows how big fuboTV will be come 2024 -- it's going to be incremental to a company that's already killing it. Its shares have nearly tripled since going public two months ago. Even if fuboTV isn't generating the same kind of buzz as its fellow IPO stocks, there's no denying that you could do a lot worse than betting on fuboTV.