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Darren Rovell Signs Extension With Action Network

“The trajectory of growth in this industry over the last three years has been incredible and I’m thrilled to be a part of this ride.”

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Darren Rovell has been at The Action Network since he left ESPN in 2018, and it appears that he isn’t going anywhere else anytime soon.

Rovell wrote an article on the company’s website discussing all of the reasons that he felt staying with the network was the right move for him.

“Over the past couple months, as my original deal with The Action Network was coming to a close, I was confronted with the choice of whether to return or to take my brand to one of those cushy sportsbook deals,” said Rovell. “At The Action Network, I am surrounded by a team that is uniquely talented at executing best-in-class data-driven sports betting content with such aplomb. Combine that with the resources given to us thanks to our acquisition by Better Collective this past year and I felt it would be virtually impossible to build the structure we have here anywhere else.”

The details of how long Rovell will agree to continue to be at the network are unclear at this point. It seems that Rovell is content doing exactly what he has been at The Action Network.

“You can count on me to continue to tell you what’s happening at the sportsbooks, to report the big bets and the bettors making them and to keep you updated on anything topical that could count as gambling these days from sports memorabilia to NFTs,” he added.

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Sportsbooks, Casinos Ask AG To Crackdown on Offshore Books

“Now, the group is getting some backing from members of Congress.”

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Offshore sportsbooks are a problem according to the American Gaming Association. The trade group representing American casinos and sportsbooks has sent a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Justice Department to crackdown on their unregulated operation.

The AGA initially sent its letter at the end of last month. Now, the group is getting some backing from members of Congress. Twenty-four members sent a letter of their own to Garland encouraging prosecutions.

On top of that, individual members of the trade group have begun speaking to CNBC about the toll offshore books are taking on their business. That includes FanDuel CEO Amy Howe, who estimates as much as $15 billion has been lost to offshore competition that doesn’t have to pay state or local taxes or spend money on lobbying lawmakers.

“It gives them an unfair competitive advantage. They can offer better odds to the consumer,” Howe said.

She added that she wonders how many players even know those books are illegal. That is something AGA CEO Bill Miller says requires action.

“Educating the public that is generally unaware of whether they’re betting on illegal sites or illegal sites is a job for all of us.” 

Fifteen billion dollars is no insignificant amount of money. Miller says when that large of a share of the market disappears to illegal operators, it cannot be ignored by those that enforce the law.

“What maybe at one point in time was a relative nuisance, is now becoming a serious threat to the legal, licensed gaming industry.”

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Casey Wasserman: Sunday Ticket Deal A “Transition to the Future of Media”

“I do think they go to a tech company or a someone who is solely focused on streaming those games,” Wasserman predicted. “That’s the next generation of monetization of those fans.”

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Casey Wasserman

At the annual Sun Valley Conference, an annual media finance conference, Casey Wasserman the founder and CEO of Wasserman, the owners of the largest sports agency, was in attendance.

He joined CNBC’s Power Lunch and was asked about the NFL Sunday Ticket negotiations which are still ongoing. Specifically, he was asked what would it mean if the NFL Sunday Ticket package went to a stream-only buyer like Apple or Amazon.

“I think it’s the begging of a transition to what people think the future of media is going to be like,” Wasserman said. “Sunday Ticket is sort of a precursor to streaming given that it was on DirecTV and subscription. It gives someone like an Apple or Amazon or whoever might buy it, hundreds of games a year to deliver to their fans in a very meaningful way and ways to experiment around those broadcasts”.

Wasserman was also asked if he thinks those rights will go to a streaming service.

“I do think they go to a tech company or a someone who is solely focused on streaming those games,” Wasserman predicted. “That’s the next generation of monetization of those fans. Given the 100+ million fans in the United States of the NFL, a streaming platform that has the ability to direct the focus to those games to those fans is a really powerful platform”.

Wasserman did not think there would be a surge in cord-cutting if more streaming services got into live sports. But he also added that streaming would add revenue to leagues and not detract from. “It’s a really powerful opportunity for the next 10 years. And what sports is, it’s predictable and unique in a world where almost nothing else is”

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Blue Wire, a Sports Podcasting Company, Raises $2.5 Million

Blue Wire has made progress stating it is on track to generate $10.3 million of revenue this year which tops last year’s earnings of $4.8 million and $1 million in 2020.

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Blue Wire

Podcasting is a wonderful platform of expression. The question about podcasting has always been about making it a profitable venture. Blue Wire is seeking to do that as well.

The company, which has 250 podcasts, has just raised $2.5 million of funding. Blue Wire has raised $11.4 million since it’s founding in 2018.

The company is in business with the podcasts of former NFL player Chris Long, former NBA player Richard Jefferson, Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson and Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby.

Blue Wire has made progress stating it is on track to generate $10.3 million of revenue this year which tops last year’s earnings of $4.8 million and $1 million in 2020. Kevin Jones, Blue Wire’s founder, says the company hopes to achieve profitability in 2023 where he estimates $23 million in revenue and 250 million podcast downloads.

“Purse strings are tighter,” Jones remarked. “They were a little looser in previous years, which was great for us. Everyone still has a match out there. If your company is growing fast and you have the metrics, you should be able find a handful of folks, but it’s getting harder. There are a lot more No’s and the process is going to take entrepreneurs longer to raise capital, at least that’s what we’re running into.”

But Jones has heard ‘yes’ before. Wynn Resorts invested $3.5 million in Blue Wire last year in an effort to also promote its WynnBET online sports betting product. Blue Wire has a 1,700-square-foot podcasting studio at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas, where the company tapes at least 35 hours of podcasts per week.

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