Updated Nov 7, 2023 - Business

Sports betting media group Better Collective to buy Playmaker Capital for $188M

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sports media group Better Collective has agreed to buy Canada's Playmaker Capital in a deal that will nearly double its audience across the globe.

Why it matters: Sports betting media has proven to be a bright spot in an otherwise difficult digital publishing landscape.

  • Copenhagen-based Better Collective's U.S. business, anchored by the Action Network, doubled in revenue between 2021 and 2022.
  • The Sporting News, another sports website that makes a lot of money sending traffic to sportsbooks, raised $15 million recently.

Driving the news: Better Collective, which runs various sports betting sites, says the cash and stock deal will allow it to become the sports media market leader in the Americas.

  • Better Collective says the total price consideration of the deal is €176 million ($188 million). In a press release posted on their website late on Monday, the company says the acquisition will strengthen its leading position in North America and is expected to make it the market leader in South America.
  • Shares of Toronto-listed Playmaker Capital closed at 49 cents on Monday, giving it a current market value of $111 million Canadian dollars.

Details: Playmaker houses a slew of popular sports media brands including, Yardbarker, a U.S. sports and entertainment news site; The Nation Network (TNN), a sports fan website with a large hockey audience and Futbol Sites, a South American digital sports brand.

  • The deal will allow Better Collective "to significantly grow our audience and reach a larger segment of generalist sports fans," CEO Jesper Søgaard says in the release.

Between the lines: Playmaker Capital also operates a paid media division, focused mostly on the U.S. market, called Wedge.

  • Wedge will be integrated into Better Collective's paid media division, which helps place paid advertising on third-party sports media sites as well as on search platforms like Google and Bing.

Of note: Better Collective islisted in Stockholm and is one of the biggest sports betting media companies in Europe. It makes most of its money from affiliate revenue and advertising.

  • The company reported annual revenues of $289 million in 2022, with $100 million coming from the U.S.

Catch up quick: The Playmaker deal is Better Collective's second-largest acquisition ever, following its $240 million purchase of Action Network, one of America's largest sports betting media companies, in 2021.

The big picture: Sports betting in the U.S. continues to grow as more states legalize the practice.

  • More than 30 states have passed legislation legalizing sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports gambling in 2018.
  • Online sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings rely on companies like Better Collective to send them referrals from readers to their content.

What's next: The deal is subject to regulatory approval in Canada and is expected to close in the next few months.

  • Moelis acted as the exclusive financial adviser.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details about Better Collective and the digital publishing landscape.

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