Action Network, a US media company focused on the sports betting sector, has received investment from RSE Ventures, the private investment firm of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Action Network chief executive Patrick Keane told the Bloomberg news agency that RSE Ventures was part of a $17.5m (€15.9m) fundraising round that closed in February. This round was led by Fertitta Capital, the private equity firm founded by the former owners of UFC, the mixed martial arts promotion.
Other investors included Blackstone Group’s David Blitzer, co-owner of NBA basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers and NHL ice hockey franchise the New Jersey Devils; the owners of MLB baseball team Chicago Cubs; 6721 Capital, a fund co-founded by sports marketing executive Casey Wasserman; and Bitkraft Esports Ventures, the world’s first esports-specific venture capital fund.
Keane said: “For the Action Network, it’s affirming to our strategy to have all four of the major US sports as investors. To be able to call on the counsel of these kinds of owners is super-helpful to the company.”
Matt Higgins, RSE’s co-founder and chief executive, added: “As more and more states legalise sports betting, we believe that a new media company will emerge to service this sector, one that best integrates data and content.
“The Action Network has a unique blend of imaginative content creators and data miners. It’s a compelling combination that’s translating to impressive growth in subscriptions.”
With sports betting remaining illegal in the state of Florida, the Dolphins have yet to embrace the sector as a commercial opportunity. However, the NFL and other teams have been increasingly active in this space.
The NFL ushered in the new year by announcing that Caesars Entertainment would be its inaugural official casino partner in a deal worth a reported $30m a year. In August, the league significantly expanded its long-running data relationship with Sportradar, and made its first major move into the world of legalised sports gambling by allowing the Swiss company to distribute real-time game data to betting operators.
In September, DraftKings was named the league’s first official daily fantasy partner.