Fanatics sportsbook Credit: Fanatics Sportsbook

Users of the Fanatics Sportsbook may have noticed a surprising option when it comes to NFL games in recent weeks.

As noted by Legal Sports Report, customers who wagered at least $1 on the matchup between Thursday night’s primetime matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants received access to an in-app stream of the game.

LSR notes that such offerings have been available to customers dating back to Week 1 of the NFL season, provided that the games being bet on are also broadcasted in the customer’s local market.

The Fanatics Sportsbook is currently available in Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Curiously, Fanatics has yet to formally announce this option, which reportedly comes via the sportsbook’s partnership with Genius Sports, the exclusive rights holder of the NFL’s official league data. Caesars Sportsbook began streaming NFL games last year via a similar partnership with Genius. LSR also noted that Genius has deals with DraftKings and FanDuel, and while those sportsbooks don’t currently stream games on their respective mobile apps, that could happen as early as this NFL season.

“In our expanded agreement with the NFL and Caesars Entertainment, Genius Sports has created a unique solution that combines our exclusive official NFL data with live streaming content to deliver the most compelling sports betting experience available across the U.S.,” Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke said in a release announcing the Caesars streaming deal late last year. “Accelerated by our long-term NFL partnership, Genius Sports continues to go from strength to strength as our innovative products enable our customers to grow their product offering and increase market share across North America.”

As for why Fanatics — or the NFL, for that matter — has yet to publicize this option for customers, it remains unclear. One theory would be that neither wants to upset the league’s broadcast partners, which pay billions of dollars for exclusive game rights each season.

Another possibility is that while the NFL hasn’t been shy about its sportsbook partnerships — just watch a broadcast — perhaps the idea of streaming games in a mobile app is a bridge too far from a public relations standpoint. There’s a difference between having a sportsbook sponsor a broadcast and viewers watching the game in a sportsbook app, implicitly encouraging them to live bet on games.

Ultimately, so long as it’s only in-market games that are available, the ability to watch them in an app is no different than having an antenna. But it’s nevertheless curious why both a league and company never shy to promote themselves having seemingly preferred for this feature to fly under the radar.

[Legal Sports Report]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.