A large part of the current sports betting scene involves sports media efforts. Those range from straight ad buys in established outlets to partnerships involving odds and links to sponsorships of individual personalities or shows to in-house shows. The key goals there are acquiring new customers for sportsbooks and encouraging existing customers to bet more, and every sportsbook is doing this in some fashion, but with some notable differences. One particularly media-centric approach comes from Betr, which announced $35 million in a new Series A2 funding round Tuesday.
That new round of Betr funding (which comes with the company placed at a total valuation of $300 million ahead of this new money) is co-led by Roger Ehrenberg via IA Sports Ventures and Fuel Venture Capital, with Fuel doubling their Betr investment from $10 million to $20 million. This round also features further investments from Betr cofounders Joey Levy and Jake Paul (seen above at left and right respectively). And the company’s release on it heavily played up the importance of their Betr Media brand to their Betr Gaming sportsbook. Some highlights from that particularly touch on how they believe their media strategy gives them “low-to-no-CAC” (customer acquisition costs) for Betr Gaming:
Betr’s media division, Betr Media, is the fastest growing sports betting media brand in the United States, already surpassing 1.3B impressions on social media in its first 10 months. Betr Media is focused predominantly on original and short-form content, which the Company believes will be the primary form of sports media consumption for the 21-34-year-old male demographic outside of consuming live sporting events themselves. Betr Media’s unique approach of creating culture as opposed to reposting culture is also informing unprecedented media-audience-to-product conversion, with over 20 percent of Betr Media’s estimated Ohio audience already converting to real money gaming customers for Betr Gaming. In just its first year, Betr Media was awarded Best Sports Betting Content in the sports media industry at the 2023 Hashtag Sports Awards and was also nominated for two other awards, including Best Original Content for the Company’s flagship franchise BS w/ Jake Paul and Best Use of Gamification for the Company’s Betr Ticket contest.
Betr Media is driving low-to-no-CAC for Betr Gaming, positioning the Company to have the best unit economics in the OSB and iGaming markets, which is projected to reach over $40B in the United States and $150B globally by 2030. The Company has laid the foundations for a powerful flywheel – where it can capitalize its business and monetize users directly via Betr Gaming products, invest this capital in content creators via Betr Media to further drive brand awareness and brand affinity, and then funnel this incremental audience growth and engagement to Betr Gaming products.
“I am thrilled to announce our Series A2 round of financing, which we opportunistically raised after successfully laying the foundations for Betr Gaming and Betr Media while validating some of our core theses,” said Joey Levy, Founder and CEO of Betr. “Our ability to rapidly scale Betr Media’s audience, and then convert this audience to Betr Gaming at low-to-no-CAC, will enable us to have the best unit economics in the regulated real money gaming industry, positioning Betr to create more value than incumbent operators over time. The three pillars of our business are 1) low-to-no-CAC supported by unique social media expertise, 2) strong user engagement and retention supported by brand affinity and a differentiated product, and 3) a focus on responsible gaming supported by a team that believes in doing the right thing. We have seen material validation of pillar one, we have demonstrated leadership and still have more planned with respect to pillar three, and we will be better positioned to validate pillar two after launching our two other real money gaming verticals and V1 of Betr Betting on top of the recently acquired Chameleon platform.
Betr currently has their Betr Gaming sportsbook licensed and operational in Ohio and Massachusetts. They’re licensed in Virginia as well and plan to go live there soon, and also hold market access in Indiana and four other to-be-announced states. Their gaming efforts started with a microbetting-only offering on individual plays and events, but, as Levy mentions above, they’re set to expand to full sportsbook offerings (and two other to-be-announced real money gaming verticals) based on the Chameleon platform they recently acquired from FansUnite. But their media efforts are larger still at this point, including the BS w/ Jake Paul podcast, other current podcasts including 100x Club and Betr Derek, and the April acquisition of Haley and Hanna Cavinder’s TwinTalk podcast (as part of a larger deal with the Cavinder twins). And the above part of the release emphasizes how much of a priority the media side is for them.
What’s really interesting about that is Levy’s claim that they can “convert this audience to Betr Gaming at low-to-no-CAC,” though. As mentioned above, every sportsbook relies on media efforts of some sort to drive signups (in particular) and existing user engagement. But those efforts are often quite expensive, which is the CAC Levy is referencing here. And they tend to be more expensive still when focused on original content and things like “creating culture instead of reposting culture.” However, in an email interview with Awful Announcing, Levy said he believes their media approach is actually giving them those low-cost customer acquisitions (and high conversions of media consumers to gaming signups), and it’s working because their media content is powerful enough to gain its own sponsorships and (eventually) pay for itself. He said a partnership with energy drink Celsius for BS w/ Jake Paul illustrates that.
“One of the core goals of Betr Media is to independently monetize original content and premium IP with the goal of paying for itself long-term,” Levy said. “This would effectively result in a zero-cost customer acquisition platform for Betr Gaming that also generates significant brand awareness and affinity for Betr. The first example of this is our partnership with Celsius, a global leading energy drink brand worth more than $10 billion, which we signed as the first sponsor of the BS w/ Jake Paul franchise. We are thrilled to partner with Celsius, which demonstrates the strong brand that Betr has built to date.”
Levy said a sponsorship like that illustrates the power of Betr Media’s current offerings, and will lead to other deals. And they’re also looking to strike in-kind deals that enhance their content, not just purely financial deals.
“This sponsorship acts as a launch pad to attract additional sponsors and underscores Betr Media’s ability to ultimately pay for itself as a source of truly low-to-no CAC for Betr Gaming. Additionally, we will continue pursuing cost-effective content capture opportunities where we receive in-kind benefits such as travel, accommodation, and access to events for little to no cost in return for the exposure that Betr provides these entities and brands.”
He said their approach also stands out for its focus on creating original content.
“Betr is disrupting legacy sports media by taking a 100 percent original content approach with its unique network of influencers and up-and-coming content creators. With a heavy focus on growing an organic and loyal audience, Betr is meeting the audience where they’re actually at and creating megaviral short-form video and long-form premium IP franchises. This provides a refreshing and much-needed option for consumers who have been overrun with an oversaturated media playbook that’s over-indexed on curation.”
So far, Betr Gaming’s launch has been limited to Ohio and Massachusetts. But they’re seeing good results from this content-driven approach in those markets, especially with that noted 20 percent-plus figure on conversion of media audience to actual bettors in Ohio. Levy said Ohio was a solid early market for them to target, especially with Paul being from the state and with the partnership (in return for equity) they have with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village.
“Ohio likely represented the largest day-one operator opportunity for at least the next 1-2 years in the U.S.,” he said. “We successfully secured market access rights in Ohio through our partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village at a meaningful discount to peak market rates. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Village received an equity stake in Betr, which helps align incentives and preserve cash for Betr. Jake Paul, our co-founder, is from Ohio and has an avid fan base throughout the state. And Ohio borders Indiana, which will be one of the first handful of states we enter for real-money sports betting.”
The other interesting part about this funding round is how both Levy and Paul invested more personally. Levy said that made sense for him considering how big he thinks Betr will get. (And he and Paul do also both have the Betr tattoos they’re showing off in the photo at top.)
“I am very optimistic about Betr’s future and want to have as much skin in the game as possible,” Levy said. “We have made so much progress across both product and media just 10 months since launching our brand–I can only imagine where we will be in 1, 5, 10 years and beyond. We have an incredibly talented team that I believe is building something truly unique. We are about to hit a number of inflection points and have some very exciting announcements over the coming months and I could not be more excited to see what we build over the long-term as we continue to disrupt the legacy gaming and media industries.”