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Fanatics faces obstacles in TV, sports betting ambitions

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin considered buying Australia-based PointsBet and other sports bookmakers but ended up passingMARC BRYAN-BROWN

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin’s reputation for "cold, shrewd and successful calculation has lately taken a hit," as his ambitions to "build a TV and sports-gambling empire have lately suffered a few setbacks," according to Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. Fanatics is the "undisputed champion of US sports merchandise," and the company also wants to be the "biggest online sports betting operator." But recently, Fanatics, which does not have a sports betting license in any state, "lost the race for a New York license despite being confident it would win." Last summer, Fanatics was in the running to buy Australia-based PointsBet, but a source said that Rubin "saw the inside of PointsBet’s operations and decided instead of buying an operator to build a business organically." Rubin also "considered buying other sports bookmakers and ended up passing." Sources said that Fanatics plans to "launch a sports book late this year, aiming to gain traction by renting gaming licenses in several states from current bookmakers in exchange for a slice of revenue." The company likewise has "expressed interest in buying" RSNs but has recently "passed on buying the stations Comcast is selling, including a piece of SNY" (N.Y. POST, 1/6).

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