Clay Travis Bets Big On Outkick The Coverage’s Future

    • After years of building ‘Outkick the Coverage' by himself, Clay Travis is expanding its editorial, podcast, and video offerings with several new hires.
    • Travis expects the rebound of gambling to play a major role in Outkick’s value, and is seeking “a little bit of everything” as the site expands.

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Clay Travis is expanding Outkick the Coverage, the site founded in 2011 by the television and radio personality. The goal for the site, according to the co-star of FS1’s weekday sports betting show “Lock It In,” is to cover everything from college and pro football to gambling and pop culture.

“We’ll be doing a little bit of everything. We’ll be doing podcasts more significantly. We’ll be doing Periscopes, Facebook [videos]. We’ll be doing a lot of written content. I think there will be audio, video, and written components, “ said Travis.

That will include expanding beyond Travis as well, with a goal to hire five to 10 staffers. Recently, the site hired Ryan Glasspiegel, Bobby Burack, and Michael Shamburger from sports news blog The Big Lead.

“I expect it to be a multimedia, full-service company where people are able to come and spend time during the course of their day and, hopefully, get a little bit smarter than they otherwise would be,” Travis said.

With that expansion, Travis has big aspirations for Outkick in light of recent sports media acquisitions. 

Casino operator Penn National Gaming acquired 36% of Dave Portnoy’s Barstool Sports for $163 million, plus the right to become Barstool’s exclusive gaming partner. At the time of the Penn deal, Barstool said it generated nearly $100 million in annual revenue from events, ecommerce, digital and audio advertising, licensing and subscriptions. The site also has a devoted following with an active interest in gambling. 

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons sold The Ringer and its growing network of nearly 40 podcast titles to Spotify for $200 million. Ringer podcasts generate over 100 million downloads a month.

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But, compared to those more established media brands, Outkick will have to make up ground and carve out an identity, which Travis hopes to do with the new hires and a renewed focus on gambling expertise.

Starting with traffic: Barstool drew 7.92 million unique U.S. visitors in March, while The Ringer drew 1.14 million, according to ComScore. Outkick is not listed on the ComScore rankings. Both Barstool and the Ringer also have mature businesses outside of content alone, including events, merchandising, licensing and podcast advertising.  

According to Travis, Outkick generates millions of video, podcast, and page views a week, adding that podcast traffic for the Outkick radio program on Fox Sports Radio grew 25% to a new record in April. However, he declined to provide exact figures.

Travis owns 100% of Outkick, which he said is profitable, and is financing the new hires out of pocket. He’s also open to an equity investment into the company. 

“I’m open to anything that makes good financial sense. I never like to say no to anything,” he said. “We’ve had lots of people ask before. As we grow larger and larger I’m sure more will ask. But no plans to do anything other than producing good original content and continuing to grow.”

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Travis is placing a bet that sports betting will help to drive the company’s growth. The Nashville native’s home state of Tennessee could go live with legal online sports betting as early as July, according to The Action Network. Once live sports return, sports gambling is “going to be huge,” predicted Travis. 

“I think there’s a very high likelihood we’ll have a strong relationship with one of the big sports gambling companies in the future,” he said.

Travis is a controversial, combative figure in sports media. But the author of “Republicans Buy Sneakers Too: How The Left is Ruining Sports with Politics” is not worried about people hating him.

“I tend to think that most of what I say is pretty reasonable. I think there’s a great demand for sort of reasonableness right now,” Travis said. “But I also understand that some people hate me. I’ve always said if you hate me, tell me as many people as you possibly can. I want people who love me to say the same thing. But really the reason why the audience has grown is people care – one way or the other.”