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Chernin Group Makes Bet on Sports Wagering With ‘The Action Network’ Media Roll-Up

Ex-ESPN digital exec Chad Millman tapped as head of media

Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group has formed the Action Network, a subscription-based sports analysis and media company catering to bettors and fantasy-sports players.

The Action Network (theaction.io) is a roll-up of three companies acquired by the Chernin Group: Mark Cuban-backed FantasyLabs, Sports Insights, and SportsAction. TCG has recruited ESPN veteran Chad Millman, whose career there spanned nearly two decades, as the new venture’s head of media.

Chernin Group is making a primary capital investment into the Action Network, but declined to disclose the amount. The Action Network will sell access to sports data and analytics with premium content including video, podcasts and articles — aiming at an audience of the millions of people who play fantasy sports or gamble on sports.

Employees of FantasyLabs, Sports Insights and SportsAction will join the Action Network, and the founders will continue to play key roles in product management and editorial leadership.

“My investment in FantasyLabs was a bet on the future of how people consume sports – with something at stake,” Mark Cuban said in a statement. “The company’s acquisition by the Chernin Group and the creation of the Action Network reaffirm that this market is underserved.”

Millman most recently ESPN’s VP/editorial director of U.S. digital content, and before that was editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine. While at ESPN he was a regular contributor to the network’s programs, and created the gambling beat while launching podcast “Behind the Bets.” Millman has also written or co-authored seven books, including best-seller “The Odds,” about three Las Vegas bookmakers and professional gamblers.

“The list for this leadership role had one name, Chad Millman,” Mike Kerns, TCG’s president of digital, said in a statement. “His experience launching new media brands, passion and expertise in the wagering media business, and network within the media industry is unmatched.”

Sports Insights, founded in 1999 by Daniel Fabrizio, pioneered the use of public betting trends data at sportsbooks to provide live odds. Fabrizio was also behind FantasyLabs, which provides daily fantasy sports players with proprietary data and tools to test theories, create and test models for their fantasy sports lineups. FantasyLabs was founded by Fabrizio, Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings, Kevin Cassata and Michael Bernhardt.

SportsAction was co-founded by Brian Mead and Chernin Group’s Mike Kerns, and was incubated with TCG. The company’s native app platform offers real-time scores, odds and picks tracking, with information analysis aimed at both casual and engaged sports bettors.

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