• theScore is planning to open a New Jersey sports betting venue and integrated app media/wagering experience.
  • The company is waiting to receive its NJ licenses, though its partner venue is not disclosed.
  • theScore’s sportsbook is scheduled to open by mid-year.

TRENTON, N.J. – theScore, an Ontario-based sports media network founded in 2012, is reported to be putting the finishing touches on its expansion into the US legal sports betting market. Essentially, the brand is Canada’s version of ESPN, though without the global network television reach.

Nevertheless, theScore’s new-media reach on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube rivals even ESPN’s status. As a point of comparison, ESPN’s US iPhone app has 313,000 ratings (4.5 stars), while theScore has 241,000 ratings (4.8 stars).

theScore’s Android numbers lag farther behind (162,000 ratings compared to ESPN’s 546,500 or so), but the app’s overall score is a full half-star better.

In total, the young sports-focused company has a global audience of over four million monthly users.

However, with its new focus being sports betting, theScore is no longer going after ESPN’s podium. Instead, the brand is going after FanDuel and DraftKings.

In America, DraftKings’ iPhone app has a 5-star rating from 182,000 user ratings, while FanDuel’s 5-star app rating comes from 40,600 users. On Android, DraftKings has 57,000 ratings for a 4.5-star score, and FanDuel has a slightly higher overall score from almost 34,000 users.

While theScore has no plans to take on the daily fantasy sports (DFS) businesses of these two vendors, it does view them as prime competition in the New Jersey sports wagering market.

In the context of consumer numbers as cited above, this is where theScore compares truly favorably to the establishment, as company president Benjie Levy explains.

“I was looking into numbers the other day where we sit fourth in all the major media properties. In terms of their footprint in the states, we think our audience compares very favorably to theirs.”

Right now, FanDuel is the number-one sportsbook in New Jersey by monthly revenue, hauling in a record $17.6 million in March. DraftKings was the second-best performer in March, earning $7.3 million. Most of this business is handled online rather than through physical sportsbooks.

What Will theScore’s Sportsbook Look Like?

In order to operate in New Jersey as a real-money sports betting site over the Internet, a service provider must be aligned with a physical gambling venue. This is a requirement under New Jersey law.

For example, FanDuel operates the sportsbook at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford. DraftKings’ land-based partner is the Resorts Atlantic City.

It is currently unknown which physical venue theScore will join, though it’s possible that they’ll partner with Freehold Raceway. Freehold Raceway is the only eligible sports wagering venue in the Garden State that has not yet launched a public-facing product.

That said, each eligible New Jersey sports wagering venue is allowed to have three separate book operators (aka “skins”), so theScore may choose a more lucrative and better-positioned casino or racetrack partner for its rollout.

Regardless, the young company will launch its first New Jersey sports betting product later this year. To handle the bookmaking aspect of this venture, theScore has turned to fellow start-up Bet.Works.

Bet.Works will be responsible for building out theScore’s actual betting platform, while the latter will focus on integrating their existing media model with new sports betting concepts.

This marketplace shake-up, according to company CEO and chairman John S. Levy, puts theScore on firm footing going forward.

“Our team is creating a unique integrated media and betting experience, which we believe will be a truly differentiated offering that position[s] theScore very well in the rapidly developing legal sports betting landscape throughout the U.S.”

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