Origins of Sports Gaming Media
The origin of any company begins with its founders. This is the story of our founder, Rod Myers. It is the story of how one man took his vision and life experiences and moved forward to embark on a path that ultimately leads us to where the company is today.
In the beginning of 1998, Rod was producing and hosting a daily TV sports betting television show in Las Vegas called “Inside Sports”. The show aired for one hour per night, five nights per week. Rod was then recruited by a startup company developing online gambling software. A deal was reached between the two and Rod soon took a position as Director of Sports Betting Operations. He maintained his residence in Las Vegas and would travel to Washington DC as needed. When he was working from DC, he also took many trips to Curacao to expand the company’s footprint in the I-Gaming industry.
By 2001 however, early warning signs were appearing of a dot-com bubble collapse. Funding for tech startups dried up overnight and the repercussions were far-reaching. Most people would view this as our first official challenge, but it was never viewed as a challenge on any level. The problem was greeted as an opportunity, and excitement abounded about the prospect of branching into a new-found business. Thus, Sports Gaming Players Network was born.
Sports Gaming Players Network (SGPN)
The next few years were spent crafting, creating, and establishing our business, the Sports Gaming Players Network (SGPN). In many ways, SGPN served as the predecessor to what would later become Sports Gaming Media. The company published monthly betting schedules, seasonal preview guides/workbooks and distributed a weekly sports betting newspaper in the Las Vegas market. SGPN also produced radio programming that was distributed to several states and featured multiple celebrity call-ins. It was honestly the time of our lives.
The crown jewel in the SGPN portfolio was a radio show produced in conjunction with Cable Radio Network (CRN) called “Sports Corner”, hosted by Rod Myers, and co-hosted by actress Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World). The show aired for two hours per night, five nights per week. Sports Corner was broadcast from inside the Sunset Station casino in Las Vegas and was aired on radio stations in ten states. The show featured a unique blend of information, analysis, and witty humor, sprinkled with calls from listeners who were always eager to propose marriage to “Topanga”.
The great thing about SGPN is that the funding was all advertiser driven. There were no investors, shareholders or reporting requirements; just a business being self-sustainable. Advertisers were primarily internet sportsbooks located in Costa Rica. Routine business trips proved successful as the company made its marketing presentation to these sportsbooks and would return to Las Vegas enough money to run our campaigns and have plenty left over for business operations. Our greatest success was the fact we once sold 100% of our advertising inventory in our first meeting.
Things were going great at SGPN. It was a lifestyle that was like being in a dream. The typical week involved traveling to far away exotic locations where you would meet interesting characters. But more importantly, we were producing high quality content that people in the betting community liked receiving. Our products had an audience that was growing rapidly. We were living our dream and making decent money doing it. Life was good and the future was bright. Who could have foreseen what was coming next?
Unethical Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)
Dept of Justice (DOJ)
The Government sometimes has a way of messing up a good thing, and that was certainly the case with us. A change of Presidents resulted in Janet Reno being replaced by John Ashcroft as head of the Department of Justice. Reno had always been non-aggressive with respect to foreign gambling companies, pointing out that these businesses were legally licensed in their host country. In contrast, Ashcroft took a hard stance against betting operators, particularly sports betting. What followed was an unfortunate series of events that served as a major setback for the betting industry.
It started when the Port Security Act was passed by Congress, including a hidden piece of legislation titled the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This act created a financial blockade between the United States and online betting companies, effectively cutting off the flow of funds.
Uncertainty ran amuck in the industry and the harsh results were rearing its ugly head for Sports Gaming Players Network. Although our publishing and broadcasting activities were in a legal green zone, the writing was on the wall. Many of the sports betting companies quickly pulled out of the U.S. market, hoping this would signal to the DOJ that they were trying to do the right thing. Those that did still accept bets from the U.S. were afraid to advertise in our publications for fear of drawing attention to themselves, and even if they wanted to buy advertising there was a financial blockade that prevented them from paying for it. Reluctantly, SGPN was left with no choice but to suspend its business operations and to wait for more favorable market conditions. Enter Sports Gaming Media.
Legal Sports Betting Arrives
In May 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This was the law that had banned sports betting in America, except for the state of Nevada. The decision to overturn PASPA meant that each state could now decide if they wanted to allow sports betting. Within a year, half of the country had passed measures for legalized sports betting, with others on the way. The rapid expansion of sports betting opportunities across the country has set the stage for a major market boom, creating conditions far more favorable than we could have ever dreamed.
With the pieces finally falling into place, Rod went straight to work. The entire past 24 months were spent conducting research and analysis, building, and testing the framework of our core technology, as well as drafting detailed business and marketing plans for how we will enter the market. The goals were simple: to publish the most widely distributed print publication devoted to the topic of sports betting, and to build the country’s first radio and television networks dedicated to the topic.
Although these are exciting times to be involved with the emerging sports betting market, they are not without challenges. What is most exciting to us is the opportunity to share this experience with the sports betting community. Join us on this adventure and make our story part of your story.