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FTN CMO: “We’re Mildly Obsessed With Sports Betting”

We’re chatting with FTN Network’s CMO, Stefano Vaccarino

FTN data

This week I connected with Stefano Vaccarino who is the Chief Marketing Officer for the FTN Network. If you’re in this space you have undoubtedly come across FTN Bets, the “one-stop shop for all things sports betting”.

Stefano oversees creating, managing and executing all of the marketing campaigns for FTN Bets, FTN Daily, FTN Fantasy and FTN Data. Before FTN, Stefano was the Marketing Director and Head of NBA Product for The Quant Edge.

Being in the betting space myself, I was curious to understand more about the FTN network. Here is what I asked Stefano to learn more about FTN’s business and future plans.

What is the elevator pitch of what you do? What led to the creation of FTN?

Vaccarino. FTN is a data company that specializes in delivering affordable, customizable, extraordinarily detailed and accurate data for betting, season long fantasy, and daily fantasy. Our data offerings include traditional statistics as well as a multitude of advanced and proprietary data points and analysis. Alongside our data, we have three consumer focused sites, FTNBets, FTNFantasy and FTNDaily, for anyone trying to get a leg up with their fantasy teams or bets.

At FTN, we all love betting, fantasy and daily fantasy. You could say we’re mildly obsessed. Before I worked for FTN, I was giving out daily fantasy picks and tips to a modest Twitter following I had built while working a regular 9-to-5 desk job. I was constantly thinking about different lineups and tweaks I could make to get the best performances out of my fantasy teams and the bets I was placing. FTN was created for people like me: anyone looking to gain an edge or advantage for the best performance.

In your list of partners, I see a few highly reputable brands such as Caesars and the affiliate site Action Network. How did these partnerships come by and what type of data do you offer them? What is it used for?

Vaccarino. In the process of starting our different companion sites, we knew we’d have to have data to power our models, charts and tools. Instead of finding the source of our data elsewhere, we purchased a sports data company. This is the power source behind all our models and tools. We package the same data we use for our own sites and offer it to businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup with a limited budget or a top-of-the-line sportsbook — we have you covered.

With other data providers, you’re stiff armed with the data they provide you. Your tools and charts have to fit into the picture their data paints. Because we collect our own data, it can be customized to fit into whatever chart, graph or tool that you want to create. Our data can then be used like different paint colors for our customers to paint their own picture.

You also have a video series on YouTube. What has been the reception of sports and betting fans so far? What are the plans and goals for the video series for this year?

Vaccarino. We have a variety of shows on our YouTube channel that are also broadcasted across cable TV, particularly in Canada. Reception to sports betting remains positive, as it always has with our audience. The biggest pushback we see is from people in non-legal states who would like their legislators to legalize online sports betting.

We’ve built a community of subscribers and experts who interact with our media content and Discord channels, this provides awesome synergy between our experts and subscribers. This leads to a more engaged audience with our shows. Our goal is to grow and develop high-profile partnerships. This will allow us to invest more in the media side and create the best looking product possible.

Without revealing how the sausage is made, what are some of the data points that you look at when selecting the best picks and odds for upcoming games?

Vaccarino. We use advanced metrics in each sport to create a baseline outcome for teams and players. We then use those baselines to simulate each game by comparing the strength and weaknesses of opponents against one another.

With the nascent explosion of AI content and tools, how do you differentiate yourself from the other data and content providers out there that claim to produce best-in-class AI-made picks and analyses?

Vaccarino. All our betting models, fantasy projections and content are done by professional sports bettors and fantasy players. In a field where the slightest edge can mean so much, our team has an eye for what impacts edges and how to take advantage of it. Because we own our own data, we are able to display and manipulate our data in a way our staff believes is most advantageous to beat the house or take home a fantasy football league championship.

Our focus on the B2B side is to provide customizable data feeds, projections and tools for our clients. We are actively working with all of our clients in order to meet their custom needs, making it as turn-key as possible for them. While we provide the option for just a raw data dump, we want to help businesses be more efficient, which in turn saves them money in the long run regardless of if they are a small or large shop.

Do you see a gap in the betting market today for content or tools? If you could build anything , what would that be and what problems do you see with sports betting technology in the US market today?

Vaccarino. There are two major problems in the industry: how data can be used once it leaves the provider (basically how malleable the data is), and the price point the data is being offered at.

We’re able to offer fully customizable NFL data because we capture it ourselves. We have 25 charters who watch and record every snap of every NFL play. Their work to collect everything happening on the field powers everything going on behind the scenes when it comes to FTN’s NFL data. Their work is the life blood of FTN.

As far as price goes, it seems as though our competitors want an arm and a leg for the smallest amount of data. To emphasize my earlier point, once you have the data, it has to be used in its own parameters. So you’re paying a hefty price tag for something you’re not able to fully utilize. Again, since we capture the data ourselves, we are able to offer it in a number of different plans and packages that ensure the biggest bang for your buck. We’re not Burger King with having it your way, but we’re pretty close.

Finally, what are your plans for the FTN network in 2023-24?

Vaccarino. The plan for the future and beyond is on the B2B side with FTN Data. This doesn’t mean we’re minimizing our other sites; conversely, continuing to grow those out.

We want to double the amount of charters we have so we’re able to push our data out quicker to clients. During football season, we delivered our advanced data out to our clients by the end of the day on Tuesday. With more charters, we can push for the end of day Monday.

The other point of emphasis is to scale to more sports. The NBA and PGA are up next as the sports we want to have similar offerings as our NFL product for. These two goals are what will help push FTN Data to become a highly sought-after full-service data company that will be the perfect fit for anyone’s data needs.

Manuel Martinez

Manuel Martinez

Manuel is an iGaming veteran who is interested in knowing all there is to know about the gambling industry. What? Why? How?