Darren Rovell - Why I Went all in for the Action Network and Sports Gambling in the US

A well-known ESPN host left the network to join a new network whose whole focus is sports gambling, and he wants everyone to know why. Darren Rovell says he believes that reporting on gambling and the business of sports is what he was meant to do. He also said he is a bona fide sports gaming junkie, and loves to talk about sports gambling as well as analytics.


Darren Rovell was born and raised in New York City. He went to Northwestern University in Illinois. During his time at Northwestern University in the early 2000s, he began to write about sports and sports business. He also did a radio show about the business of sports when he was still at the university. Rovell interned at FoxSports.com, writing about the business of sports.

ESPN Tenure

Rovell was hired after graduation by ESPN.com, and began to report on sports business, sports agents, and athlete contracts. He was regularly seen on ESPN during Sports Center discussing player contracts, coaching contracts, player endorsements, and agents. Rovell also reported on negotiations between teams and owners over players.

The Love of Sportsbooks

According to Rovell, he fell in love with sports gambling in 2004. At the time, he was sitting in a sports bar in New York City. He was watching the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament game between Duke and the University of Connecticut. While it was a very exciting game, with UConn winning by a point, Rovell was more interested in watching the reactions of a man sitting next to him than he was in the game.

sports bettingAfter the Duke guard Chris Duhon made an incredible shot, the man next to Rovell, who was wearing an UConn sweatshirt, freaked out. Rovell was trying to figure out why. The answer surprised him. After a couple of phone calls to Vegas, Rovell figured it out. The man bet on UConn to beat the spread. The spread on the current game he and the UConn fan were watching was between two and three points, depending on when the bet was placed. Even though the fan’s team won, the fan lost a lot of money, and he was upset.

When Rovell started reading about the line and the aftermath of the UConn-Duke game, he wrote about it for ESPN, and his story got great reviews. Turns about his stories really appealed to many other people who love gambling, and they wrote him back, commenting on them. Rovell has said that his most widely read stories on the website were stories about crazy parlay bets on sporting games with huge odds. Another favorite topic of his stories was gamblers who should have won, but did not—so-called bad beat bets were very popular.

When sports betting became legal in the United States in May of 2018, and states began to legalize betting, Rovell realized that he could have the opportunity to write and report full time on betting, different sportsbooks, crazy bets and sports data. He could also write about team sponsorships and the business of sports betting.

Rovell decided to leave ESPN for Action Network in the fall of 2018. The Action Network is a startup founded by the Chernin Group as a vehicle for everything in sports gaming and betting. The Action Network is a data and analytics company as well. The Action Network will have original content on its website, as well as its network. The company already has a daily streaming show on ESPN’s platform called “I’ll take that Bet.” Other streaming shows are planned, as well as continuous stories on The Action Network that promote and discuss gambling and sports. In Rovell’s eyes, he made the bet of a lifetime by moving to a company where he could do what he loved full time.

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Thomas McCoy was born in Bethesda, Maryland and studied finance at the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington D.C. before heading to New York and a job as a forex trader on Wall Street. Successful enough to launch his own, online forex trading platform, Thomas has long had a keen interest in the places where the worlds of finance and technology meet. As a prolific blogger, Thomas considers himself an expert on cryptocurrencies, casino asset restructuring, and emerging technologies set to change the way people do business.