Shares in Fubo, which have been on a wild ride in recent months but have risen more than 300% over the past year, were down 19% as the trading day reached the home stretch. The company on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations for revenue as the company’s service reached nearly 550,000 subscribers. Losses per share, however, widened to $2.47 in the period from $1.07 a year ago. That wasn’t anywhere close to analysts’ consensus forecast for a loss of 85 cents.
Many investors have headed for the sidelines today given how central sports betting has been to the strategic plan of CEO David Gandler. More than a dozen states have legalized betting in the wake of a landmark 2018 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates. The company has acquired Vigtory and Balto Sports, two deals that will help it launch free-to-play gaming and a full sports book in the second half of 2021. But scale has been a question mark, and the Dish-DraftKings news shows the challenge ahead for Fubo.
In a press release, Dish said it would integrate the DraftKings sportsbook and daily fantasy offerings into its Dish TV Hopper set-top box. The companies’ partnership will also allow for a rollout of the betting firm’s app on Dish’s Sling TV internet-delivered bundle as well as the Boost Mobile wireless network. Fubo competes directly with Sling, which has about 2.5 million subscribers. Dish’s traditional satellite TV business is declining but still has almost 9 million subscribers, and the ad-skipping Hopper set-top has gained share of the total customer base.
“The integration with DraftKings is an exciting enhancement for our customers and a great addition to the growing Dish TV Hopper platform,” Dish TV group president Brian Neylon said.
Dish TV customers with a Hopper receiver will be able to access the DraftKings app to view betting odds and fantasy contests. They can initiate bets or contest entries with DraftKings directly from their TV, then set recordings and watch the live sports that correspond with those bets or fantasy teams.
Once a bet or fantasy contest entry is initiated, customers will be prompted by push notification texts to complete the transaction in the DraftKings app on their mobile device. Bets on NCAA basketball, NBA and the NHL are on the initial menu, with additional features to be added down the line.
“Our deal with Dish TV and the technology behind it immerses customers within a next-generation viewership experience and reaches these fanbases in a completely new way,” said Paul Liberman, president of product and technology and co-founder at DraftKings. “This is a unique opportunity for fans to watch games and engage with our real-money products while the technology also allows for further innovation ahead.”
Although it has to go up against better-capitalized rivals such as Hulu and YouTube as well as Sling, Fubo has a number of champions in the financial community. Bulls see the company as a likely beneficiary of cord-cutting, which shaved more than 5 million subscribers from the traditional bundle in 2020.
Jason Helfstein, an analyst with Oppenheimer, reiterated his “buy” rating on Fubo’s shares after the quarterly report, raising his 12-month price target to $45 from $30.
In a note to clients, he noted guidance for the current quarter pointing to “muted churn” compared with 2020 levels. The company is “well-positioned to benefit from the industry-wide shift to over-the-top (OTT) streaming services and, now, online sports betting,” he wrote. Many internet-delivered bundles keying on entertainment offerings, “forcing sports fans to remain tethered to pay TV,” he added. Fubo, meanwhile, “is exploiting the opportunity in sports by providing a comparable viewership experience at a lower cost than its pay-TV counterparts.”