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With Better Collective, Action Network Hails Opportunity to Give Fans More

“We’re going to have greater resources to invest in content and bring more talent into the platform,” CEO Patrick Keane tells Boardroom.

Last week, sports betting giant DraftKings made a major move into the original content space, forking over $50 million for the distribution rights to Meadlowlark Media’s radio and podcast network highlighted by Dan Le Batard. On Monday, it was Better Collective’s turn to own the headlines: They announced a deal to expand their own footprint in the US gambling space, acquiring Action Network for $240 million.

The Copenhagen-based media group specializing in betting tips, bookmaker info, and iGaming already has a US presence in its portfolio in the form of Vegas Insider and RotoGrinders, but this week’s move is far and away their biggest yet.

In fact, in 2022, Better Collective aims to drive $100 million in revenue in the American market alone. And they want Action along for the ride.

“Better Collective is attractive for us because we get to still be an independent affiliate conversion platform for sportsbooks. We’re going to increase the scale and the volume and the types of content that we create, which we were going to do regardless of being acquired, but this gives us greater resources to be able to do it,” Action Network CEO Patrick Keane told Boardroom.

Taking advantage of a wave of ever-expanding American sports betting legalization, Action Network anticipates upwards of $40 million in Action Network revenue this year, a 100% increase over their 2020 figures. “[Better Collective is] definitely getting an asset that’s growing considerably,” Keane said, noting that the company reached profitability in September.

An expanded capacity for reach, engagement, and cash flow had Better Collective CEO Jesper Søgaard similarly positive.

“I am thrilled to welcome Action and its employees to Better Collective. This acquisition, which is the largest in Better Collective’s history, gives us a leading position within affiliation in the US and a strong foundation for profiting from the continuous regulation of the US betting market,” he said.

As Keane told Boardroom, Action drives four million unique users to its platform each month, while Better Collective boasts 16 million. In that regard, the opportunities for some positive synergy across platforms are very, very real.

“Some of their sites have been around a long time. They have great domain authority, so they can perform very well with SEO,” he said. “We grew [organic traffic] 60% year over year from 2019 to 2020. We’ll see what happens in 2021, but we could see ourselves growing another 50 or 60% or more.”

With such a bullish outlook in the clicks department, it’s no surprise that Better Collective liked what they saw when they looked under the hood.

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In the big picture, Action Network fans can expect the brand to continue to be what it’s been since it first launched in 2017 — just bigger, broader, and more differentiated. Keane pointed to increased investments in not just written editorial, podcasts, and video, but talent to join the likes of sports business insider Darren Rovell.

“We’ll continue to do the things that we do, creating 40-50 pieces of content focused on sports betting [daily], and we think that can increase,” he said, adding that a sharper focus on sports with growing betting audiences like mixed martial arts, golf, and Champions League soccer is a strong possibility.

Says Keane: “Those are things that we have ambitions for, and Better Collective definitely is supportive of that and will give us the resources to be able to do so.”