Fox To Acquire Sports Brand Outkick Media, Which Gained Early Attention By Attacking ESPN

·2 min read

Outkick Media, a sports-focused digital media brand that gained attention in the years after its founding in 2008 by relentlessly attacking ESPN, is being acquired by Fox Corp.

Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of Fox, on Fox’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts described the deal as a fit with Fox’s ongoing push into sports wagering. He called Outkick a “leading operator” in sports news and opinion content and a “unique and special voice and one that aligns with the Fox audience rather well.”

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Outkick has an exclusive marketing agreement with FanDuel, which is also a partner with Fox, and is a “significant source” of wagering referrals, a press release said.

Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

Founded as Outkick the Coverage by lawyer and online sportswriter Clay Travis, Outkick established itself with college football coverage. It went on to gain wider attention and readership by attacking ESPN.

In the view of Travis and other contributors, the Disney-owned sports operation forsook its sports roots to traffic too often in political and social issues. He led a chorus of critics, including former president Donald Trump, of NFL players kneeling in protest against police brutality. He also pushed back on anti-Trump sentiment from personalities like former ESPN personality Jemele Hill. The title of Travis’ 2018 book sums up his recent angle on sports: Republicans Buy Sneakers Too: How the Left Is Ruining Sports with Politics. A 2017 segment on CNN featuring Travis weighing in on Hill’s tangle with Trump after she called him a “white supremacist” on Twitter went off the rails when Travis said he believes in just two things: “the First Amendment and boobs.”

Fox said it plans to operate Outkick as an independent brand and leverage its content across its existing platforms. Travis will remain integrally involved at Outkick and serve as its president.

Travis and others from Outkick had been appearing for years on Fox’s FS1 cable network. Outkick’s business has also expanded across radio and podcasts. Reaching more than 10 million monthly listeners, it is the No. 1 daily sports radio show in the mornings in the U.S., according to Fox. In additions to the millions of visitors to Outkick digital and social media channels, the Outkick podcast network, which launched last fall, gets about 4 million monthly episode downloads.

Nashville, TN-based Outkick Media is jointly owned by Travis and Savage Ventures, and the latter will continue having an operational role after the deal closes.

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