Jay-Z To Serve As Vice Chairman, Board Member For Fanatics Sportsbook

Written By Mike Mazzeo on August 16, 2021 - Last Updated on September 15, 2021

Jay-Z‘s got 99 problems. He’s hopeful that the Fanatics‘ bid for NY online sports betting ain’t one.

Jay-Z will serve as the vice chairman and sit on the board of directors of Fanatics Betting & Gaming. The hip-hop mogul’s new title was listed in the redacted bidding applications as posted by the New York State Gaming Commission Friday.

In that capacity, “he will provide strategic and creative directions on the expansion and growth of the Fanatics Sportsbook in New York and across the country,” the bid reads.

More on Fanatics and gambling

After having massive success in the sports apparel business, Fanatics is looking to expand its reach by creating a sportsbook. Fanatics’ CEO is Michael Rubin, also co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Fanatics has a partnership with both RocNation (Jay-Z’s sports agency) and BSE Global (which owns the Brooklyn Nets). The Nets are supporting the bid by Fanatics and Penn National Gaming (Barstool Sportsbook).

Nets’ co-owner Clara Wu Tsai is close to Rubin through the Reform Alliance.

Jay-Z was formerly a minority owner of the Nets, holding a 1/15th of one percent stake in the team. Jay-Z sold his stake to then-coach Jason Kidd in 2013 when he launched RocNation.

Last week, Fanatics was valued at $18 billion.

Fanatics’ plans in sports betting?

The plan for Fanatics clearly revolves around more than just the possibility of operating in the New York market, which is not a guarantee right now.

The gambling division will clearly try to move into other states that currently have online sports betting and casino, possibly including:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Illinois

Other states, like Arizona, Louisiana and Maryland, are likely to have competitive sports betting industries up and running this week or next.

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez / The Associated Press
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is the Lead Writer for PlayNY, arriving after covering several of New York's professional sports teams in a variety of roles for the past decade. Previously, he served as a beat writer and columnist covering the Brooklyn Nets (ESPN) and New York Yankees (New York Daily News). Mike also covered both the MLB and NBA nationally for Yahoo Sports. In addition, he served as a general assignment reporter for ESPN NewYork.com. He has also had bylines in the New York Times, New York Post, Newsday, Forbes and The Ringer. With PlayNY, Mike brings extensive coverage and unique story angles to what is projected to be one of the biggest and most lucrative online sports betting markets in the country. It's been an arduous and confounding process to get here, but 20 million New Yorkers (many of them die-hards) are now legally able to bet on their favorite sports teams across the state via online and mobile platforms.

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