Why It Matters That Facebook Is Testing Waters Around Sports Betting

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Facebook is dipping its toe into fantasy sports with the launch of Facebook Fantasy Games.

The  “free, simple prediction games” will be rolled out in the core Facebook app in the US and Canada over the coming months.

Facebook said the games brought the “social fun of traditional fantasy sports to simpler formats.”

What has Facebook come up with?

The new offerings include:

The games were built in partnership with Whistle Sports. There will be public leaderboards and private leagues for players to compete and trash-talk each other.

Why does it matter for US sportsbooks?

A Facebook spokesperson told LSR the company “does not have any current plans to offer betting.” However, these predictor games are a very popular way to acquire real-money gaming customers.

In fact, several large US media properties have a predictor game that acquires customers for a sportsbook:

Facebook could build database of sports bettors

Fox’s Super 6 alone has seen nearly 100 million entries since launch in September 2019, with a user base of nearly 5 million.

That database could be worth up to $1 billion based on valuations for other sources of customers. For comparison, The Action Network and its 1 million customer base sold for $240 million.

Facebook could easily build up a similar database in the next couple of years. The platform has around 200 million users in the US.

Big deal for US sportsbooks

“It is pretty big that Facebook is now in the sports gaming space,” said Daniel Kustelski, CEO of free-to play games firm Chalkline Sports.

“Everyone wants to build a database of sports fans that lean towards a bet. The first-party data captured during game play is a key value-driver for media companies like FB that want to partner with operators.”

Playing the long game?

Of course, Facebook is known for perfecting its products before even thinking about monetization. So don’t necessarily expect any new operator deals in the short term.

But it is worth noting the social media giant has links with multiple sportsbooks through traditional digital advertising deals.

Those firms could be in play for a valuable database down the road.