Matt King, CEO of FanDuel for the past four years, is taking a job at ecommerce giant Fanatics as the company explores new business opportunities, according to multiple people familiar with the plans.
King has agreed to join Fanatics once he officially leaves his position at the sports betting operator, which is expected to happen in the next month or two, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the news isn’t public.
King is the second major sports executive who will join Fanatics in the coming months, as the world’s largest seller of licensed sports apparel begins to explore new verticals. Sportico reported Monday that longtime Dodgers executive Tucker Kain would also be joining the company to be the second direct report to executive chairman Michael Rubin.
Representatives for Fanatics and FanDuel declined to comment. Attempts to reach King weren’t immediately successful.
FanDuel Group owner Flutter announced last month that King had given notice of his intent to step down. The timing of his departure was left open-ended—the announcement said King agreed to stay on while a “search process is undertaken” to find his successor.
It’s unclear exactly what King’s role will be at Fanatics, but the move is more evidence of the general blending of industries among the sports world’s biggest companies. In the past few years, sports betting companies have become media companies (and vice versa), and ecommerce firms like Amazon and Fanatics are exploring ways to further monetize the shoppers who regularly visit their marketplaces. That could mean branching out into ticketing, betting or NFTs.
Owned by Rubin, Fanatics was recently valued at $12.8 billion in a new round of funding driven by prior investors. The next step is expected to be an IPO, though it’s unclear when (or if) that would happen.
King took over as FanDuel CEO in November 2017, right as the U.S. government was blocking a potential merger between the company and rival DraftKings. In the four years since, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, and FanDuel grew from a daily fantasy operator into the country’s largest online sportsbook. King also guided FanDuel through its 2018 acquisition by Flutter Entertainment (previously Paddy Power Betfair).
Flutter has been considering spinning off some of FanDuel, and possibly other U.S. assets, into a separate publicly traded company. The company has said that while King’s departure affects the timing of that potential listing, it is still under consideration.
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