Sports betting continues to grow in mainstream prominence, and media companies are eager to jump on board, as evidenced by this week’s debut of The Action Network on SiriusXM.
The show, hosted by Blackjack Fletcher and former Major League catcher Paul Lo Duca, hits on sports betting and fantasy sports every weekday from 9 to 11 a.m. ET. According to The Action Network Chief Content Officer Chad Millman, the deal came together quickly as Sirius was looking to fill a need with gambling content. Millman believes the show is a natural fit on the radio provider’s fantasy sports channel.
“It’s all in the wheelhouse of what The Action Network covers,” Millman said. “They were looking for something and someone that can speak to it all, providing insight and analysis and entertaining with accessibility. A conversation that, whether or not you’re a hardcore bettor, you’ll feel comfortable.”
At the heart of the show is Fletcher and Lo Duca, whom Millman believes have undeniable chemistry along with their outsized personalities and a deep love of sports betting and fantasy participation. The pair have hosted the podcast The Favorites for more than a year, which helped demonstrate their on-air capabilities to Millman.
The show previews games, events, potential matchups and outcomes as they relate to point spreads, over-under, prop bets and fantasy. The phone lines also are opened up for callers seeking roster help.
While the show is only just off the ground, Millman is confident through three days that the show has translated well in the early going. “You can’t listen to the show and not realize they love sports,” he said. “They bet and play fantasy hockey, basketball. Paul can talk about baseball as well as anyone can talk about anything. He can go to the fifth starter on the Reds to talk about if he has fantasy value. That’s a rarity.”
The show is filled out by a rotating selection of The Action Network’s analysts, including Darren Rovell; golf journalist Jason Sobel; former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz; basketball experts Rob Perez and Matt Moore; and fantasy sports and gambling analysts Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings and Chris Raybon.
All those voices will help fill a need for SiriusXM in the fantasy and sports betting space.
“We’re combining The Action Network’s exceptional expertise with SiriusXM’s nationwide reach to deliver a show that meets the ever-growing appetite for meaningful data and analysis in the world of both sports betting and fantasy sports,” SiriusXM SVP of Sports Programming Steve Cohen said in a release. “We know that there is a lot of overlap when you look at who participates in both. This is a terrific and really one-of-a-kind show for those fans.”
Millman is cognizant of the show of confidence that SiriusXM, with its audience of more than 100 million users, has shown a fledgling media operation by offering airtime to The Action Network.
“We’re a young company that’s looking to build a brand and to expand our audience,” Millman said. “Sirius is a formidable, credible player in the media business, and if they’re willing to give us time on the airwaves, we’re super proud, excited and honored. There’s a lot of media companies that don’t get that.
“That’s the connection that’s very important, the ability to expand what we’re doing and reach new audiences.”
Now, with two hours at their disposal each weekday, Millman said the priority is to ensure the show is great and the sort of content Sirius is excited about. If The Action Network can do that, the hope is to further grow the partnership, potentially resulting in further programming in a growing segment of the sports industry.