You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sports-Betting Venture Action Network Raises $17.5 Million From Ex-UFC Owners, Chernin Group, Pro Sports Teams

All bets are on for the Action Network, the sports-wagering content and analytics roll-up formed by Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group. The company closed $17.5 million in Series B funding led by Fertitta Capital, the investment firm of former UFC owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.

The Chernin Group, which created the Action Network in October 2017 and furnished seed capital, also re-invested in the company. With the new funding, Chernin Group remains the largest shareholder in Action Network but is not the majority owner.

Also participating in the Action Network’s funding round were the Chicago Cubs, owned by the Ricketts family; David Blitzer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns stakes in the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils; esports investor BitKraft Esports Ventures; 6721 Capital, founded by sports marketing exec Casey Wasserman and Code Advisors; and SoFi CEO Anthony Noto (formerly Twitter’s COO).

The Action Network’s backers see huge potential growth for the sports-wagering content biz, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 law that had banned sports gambling nationwide. Sports betting is now legal in eight states and more than a dozen other states are considering legislation to legalize it.

The company provides sports-gambling news, how-to articles, and analysis, as well as real-time odds and the ability to track bets via its website and app.

“We see an incredible opportunity as we focus on securing the necessary approvals in regulated U.S. sports betting jurisdictions as well as those around the world,” Action Network CEO Patrick Keane said in a statement. The company last fall hired Keane, who was formerly CBS Interactive’s chief marketing officer and CEO of Associated Content, as well as a former board member of Bleacher Report. He was an original seed-stage investor in the Action Network.

With the funding round, Mike Kerns, president of Chernin Digital, was named the chairman of Action Network. Nakisa Bidarian, CEO of Fertitta Capital, is joining as a director.

“We are thrilled to welcome Fertitta Capital, and this exceptional group of sports, media and technology investors into the fold, as we build the next phase of the Action Network,” Kerns said in announcing the funding. He said the investment “will help us expand our audience reach and depth of product offerings for years to come.”

The Action Network launched in January 2018, after Chernin Group merged three companies it had acquired: Mark Cuban-backed FantasyLabs, Sports Insights, and SportsAction.

In addition to Keane, the company’s hires include Darren Rovell, former ESPN sports business writer; Rob Perez (aka “WorldWideWob”), former host of co-branded ESPN/Cycle Media production “Buckets”; and Jason Sobel, formerly a writer with ESPN and Golf Channel.

More Digital

  • Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content

    Beleaguered Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content for Expansion Into Southeast Asia

    One of the most surprising first-time attendees at FilMart is Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has come to Hong Kong to acquire the video content it needs to support its strategy of expansion into Southeast Asia. The company is currently embroiled in a PR nightmare as it defends itself against accusations that its equipment could [...]

  • Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes

    Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes Moves in China

    Guru Studio, an award-winning Canadian animation studio, is exploring the possibility of opening an office in Hong Kong or mainland China. The Toronto-based company is keen to get a slice of China’s animation market, which has been growing quickly. Louise Jones, Guru vice president of finance and business affairs, said at a FilMart panel discussion [...]

  • Netflix's Newest Interactive Animated Kids Show

    Netflix Announces New Interactive Animated Kids Show 'Battle Kitty'

    Netflix is doubling down on interactive content for kids. The streaming service announced a new interactive animated show on Tuesday dubbed “Battle Kitty” from Matt Layzell. The company didn’t share a premiere date for the show yet. “Netflix has given me the incredible opportunity to help change how young people see themselves,” said Layzell. “Like [...]

  • stream march madness 2019 online free

    NCAA Tournament: How to Stream March Madness Online

    The rankings are in, and the 68-team field is set. March Madness is officially upon us, and if you want to catch the action from home, from the office, or on-the-go, there are a couple ways to stream March Madness online for free. The first game kicks off today, and the tournament runs until April [...]

  • Google Stream Detailed, Named Stadia

    Google's Stadia Aims to Turn Any Screen Into a Powerful Gaming Console

    Stadia is Google’s game streaming service that is designed to let you play high-end games on most modern screens — be they phone, laptop, tablet, computer or TV — with very little download time and no loss of fidelity, the company announced Tuesday at the Game Developers Conference. The service is launching in 2019. Cost [...]

  • Amazon Focused on Building the Game

    Amazon Focused on Building the Game Industry's Digital Infrastructure

    While most of the discussion around Amazon’s presence in the game industry revolves around their scattershot game projects and rumored cloud gaming platform, the tech giant has been far more involved in building the backend infrastructure for major games. Companies like Square Enix and Zynga both use Amazon Games Tech, Amazon’s portfolio of services that [...]

  • patreon logo

    Patreon Launches Tiered Pricing for Creators, Introduces Rates for Micropayments

    Membership services platform Patreon is growing up: The company announced Tuesday that it is moving away from its one-size-fits-all pricing model for creators, introducing two new tiers in the process. In addition, Patreon is also standardizing its payment processing fees, and introducing a new dedicated rate for small-donor transactions. Patreon’s cut of the membership fees [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content