Behind Crossing Broad founder Kyle Scott's new website focused on sports and gambling – The Business Journals

A little more than a month after leaving parent company XLMedia, Crossing Broad founder Kyle Scott and business partner Jason Ziernicki have returned to their entrepreneurial roots.
The duo has launched a new website called Raising Stake, which Scott describes as covering the intersection of sports, gambling and media. He knows it ill not have the mass audience appeal as the irreverent sports website Crossing Broad.
“But I once heard a good quote that said ‘If topics are interesting to you, the world is big enough that there’s probably thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people out there who will find the same thing interesting,’” Scott said. “And there’s a lot of crossover between the sports world, the media world and the gaming world. And I think they’re converging very quickly. You’re going to see companies like DraftKings that are going to have their own media arm. Obviously, they’re in sports and gambling.”
While Crossing Broad appeals to the mass Philadelphia sports fan, Raising Stake will focus on a specific sports fan across the country and world who is interested in what happens on the business and media sides and not the field of play or front offices.
“We’re looking at the ownership level, the stuff with the media rights, stuff with the partnerships,” Scott said. “It’s more of a business publication.”
Scott’s last day with London-based XL (AIM: XLM) was Oct. 31, as the Phillies were finishing up their month-long run to the World Series. In a way, he believed that coming full circle. The 2005 Villanova University graduate started the site in 2009 as a side project after a brief career in sales and it was largely in response to the excitement from the Phillies two World Series appearances and the offseason trade for Roy Halladay.
“The site had its best traffic month ever in October, which is great,” Scott said.
Scott wrote all of the content on the site for the first four years of its existence and then most of it for the ensuing four years. He got an investment from two local businessmen that allowed him to hire another full-time journalist and a few part-timers before the site really took off in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports betting. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware became three of the first to do so, leading Scott to form referral partnerships with sportsbooks.
CBS3 and alum Kevin Kinkead has been running the site’s editorial side for several years now while Scott focused primarily on the business side.
In December 2020, Scott and business partner Jason Ziernicki sold the company, which included a recently acquired New York sports website, to XL for $25 million. The global digital media company manages a portfolio of publications focused on sports and gaming websites.
Scott and Ziernicki stayed on in newly created roles. Scott served as head of U.S. content while Ziernicki led U.S. marketing efforts. As the duo helped XL expand its U.S. relationships, Scott said there wasn’t much left for them to achieve. They had three-year earnout deals with XL and met each of their goals in less than two years as the sports betting market took off faster than even Scott expected. It was a good problem to have.
“When you’re self-employed for a decade, you work really well with your own incentive,” Scott said. “And we’re like, ‘for the next year and a half, we’re just going to be employees. We’ve kind of hit our incentive. We’re not doing the content anymore. So let’s wind down and be entrepreneurial and start something new.’”
Scott was not always certain he would again go down that path after the big payday from the sale of Crossing Broad. Still, he said the novelty of doing nothing wears off quickly and he still enjoys working. And the XL money offers some flexibility.
Last year, Scott and Ziernicki started a podcast called “Monetize Media” that talks with entrepreneurs in the media industry — specifically those who make money online such as bloggers and podcasters. They discuss how to grow personal brands and uncover business opportunities.
Scott and Ziernicki also had interest in starting another website. They made money at Crossing Broad through affiliate marketing, by referring players to sportsbooks. While they have a non-compete with XL that runs to 2025, Scott said there’s a solid affiliate opportunity to make money in the gaming space. Specifically, the focus would be with online casinos, which he said trailed sports betting in terms of legislation.
“From a pure opportunistic standpoint, we think there’s a way where we could create an online business that makes money very similar to what we do with sportsbooks,” Scott said. “We also think online lottery kind of dovetails into that and will be a business in over the next five to 10 years where you’re going to see that industry being brought into the 21st century.”
Scott noted that last summer, online lottery platform Jackpot raised $35 million from a group of investors that included Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and 76ers stars Joel Embiid and James Harden.
Most people still buy lottery tickets in-person so Scott thinks there is a major growth opportunity to refer players to online lotteries similar to what they did at Crossing Broad with sportsbooks. That’s where Raising Stake comes into the equation.
Scott believes many publications that write about such topics tend to be dry and he has the ability to add life to otherwise straightforward content by injecting entertaining, approachability and opinion.
For now, Scott and Ziernicki are the only full-time employees but plan to hire a handful of full-time reporters to cover the sports media, online casino, gambling and lottery beats in the coming months.
The content is currently free as the goal is to refer readers to online casinos and lotteries. Eventually, Scott said the Raising Stake could include a subscription level for certain readers. The content could also move into other verticals that have not yet been identified.
After spending recent years on the business side, Scott said he’s excited to get back into producing content while also scaling the business.
The goal with the self-funded project is to break even by January, replace their salaries within six to 12 months and grow revenue and profitability from there through marketing the site to its target audience.
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