- Malta based gaming technology company Carousel Group has announced a partnership with media company Maxim.
- The two entities will collaborate on a mobile/online gaming platform called ‘MaximBet’ for the US and international markets.
- Carousel Group has launched their Sportsbetting.com platform in New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, and Iowa.
Intriguing partnership hitting the wires this morning though I’m still scratching my head a bit over the implications. Malta based Carousel Group has announced a strategic partnership with ‘renowned media brand’ Maxim–as in Maxim Magazine. The two companies will collaborate on MaximBet, a sports betting and iGaming platform that will launch initially in the US market and internationally after that.
The press release announcing the deal talked about the value of Maxim’s loyal community and integrated network of media channels:
MaximBet will be made up of a market-leading sports betting and casino website at MaximBet.com, and tailor-made native iOS and Android apps that will allow users to bet on sports and casino in the United States and around the world. The new venture will leverage Maxim’s integrated network of print, digital, social and experiential platforms to engage the loyal Maxim community and sports bettors alike.
In conjunction with the Maxim partnership, Carousel Group picked up $50 million USD in Series A funding:
In conjunction with its strategic partnership with Maxim, Carousel Group is also delighted to announce the closing of its Series A investment round with $50M funding from xSigma Entertainment Limited. xSigma is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nasdaq listed ZKIN International Group, a diversified and innovative, tech-forward company that is pleased to act as a capital partner to MaximBet. Funds will be used to drive growth into additional US States and for marketing purposes.
Here’s what Daniel Graetzer, CEO of Carousel Group, said about the ‘MaximBet’ partnership:
“Maxim has established itself as a preeminent lifestyle brand over the last 25 years, and with Carousel’s strong experience in the online betting space, together we will be able to establish a powerful new gambling brand.”
“Our mutual objective to provide premiere entertainment and VIP experiences to the same customer demographic makes Maxim the perfect partner for Carousel and we can’t wait to launch MaximBet in the next 90 days.”
Maxim SVP Susan Kilkenny is excited about entering the fast growing US gaming market:
“We are always looking to provide the Maxim audience with new, rich and engaging experiences, and are incredibly excited to be entering the sports betting and iGaming space with our partners, Carousel Group.”
“Together, we feel that MaximBet has the power to innovate and elevate the online sports betting and iGaming market.”
THE MAXIM BRAND HAS MANAGED TO ENDURE
Maxim Magazine was founded in England in 1995 and launched a US edition in 1997. For a few years, it was arguably the biggest magazine in the world and certainly among 20 and 30 something men. It nosedived dramatically near the end of the 1990s–the mainstream media took considerable delight in shoveling dirt on Maxim and similar ‘lad’s magazines’ but the decline in readership had more to do with the seismic reordering of the entire publishing ecosystem than it did with anything else. More so than many print magazines, Maxim was able to transition nicely to their online platform originally called ‘MaximOnline.com’ and now just ‘Maxim.com’. They now reach more than 4 million unique viewers per month. They still publish 16 different print editions which are sold in 75 countries worldwide. In some countries, the publication remains huge–in Russia, for example, it is the third largest magazine in the country by circulation beating out Playboy, Men’s Health, Esquire, Forbes and Rolling Stone. Keep in mind that it’s exceedingly difficult to get any type of concrete numbers when it comes to magazine circulation and many of the lists I found online were seriously outdated.
The actual circulation figures of Maxim’s print edition might be tough to suss out but more relevant is the fact that a) they’ve got some nice numbers online b) they’ve got some very attractive international reach and c) the brand has endured. Maybe it’s not as iconic as the Playboy brand but it has held up pretty well. I did come across a 2018 media kit for Maxim and they’ve got some killer demographics for sports betting:
Maxim also has a large social media base. How large? Here’s a comparison–the financial media has practically soiled themselves effusing about Penn National Gaming’s partnership with Barstool Sports. Barstool has 425K followers on Twitter. Maxim has more:
No disrespect to Penn National/Barstool but based strictly on numbers it’s difficult to think that their partnership is a ‘big deal’ and not come to a similar conclusion about Carousel/Maxim. There are differences, of course–Barstool does an exceptional job engaging their community and Maxim doesn’t have a front man like Dave Portnoy. On the flip side, Barstool is self proclaimed ‘by the common man, for the common man’. The Maxim brand is more what media types call ‘aspirational’. As far as which approach is better for selling sports betting–no clue:
Maxim (www.maxim.com) is a multimedia company and the leading destination for modern men living life to the fullest. Maxim creates an unparalleled luxury experience that is part fantasy, part aspirational and part attainable, publishing 9 editions available in 75 countries. The Maxim brand is experienced across print, digital, social, events, licensing, and the annual Maxim Cover Girl contest. Maxim celebrates the most beautiful women in the world, thrill-seeking adventures in exotic destinations, world-class entertainment, luxury automobiles, speed-seeking motorcycles, cutting-edge industry titans, exceptional athletes, the latest gadgets, gear and style. Maxim.com and social connects with over 10 million mobile men on a monthly basis and Maxim Experiences brings the brand to life in epic proportions.
EXECUTION IS KEY
Ultimately, what really matters in this–or any other–partnership is execution. This could end up being a huge deal, or it could end up being nothing of any significant based exclusively on how well executed it is. There are other questions as well–for one, is the MaximBet brand going to replace SportsBetting.com for Carousel or supplement it? The SportsBetting.com is about as specific as you can get but somewhat bland:
The ‘MaximBet’ name is definitely catchy–it even has ‘old school’ casino iconography. There was a ‘Maxim Hotel & Casino’ for over 20 years right across Flamingo from what is now Bally’s and what was previously the (old) MGM Grand. It would be right behind what was then the Barbary Coast and what is now The Cromwell as well as behind the former Bourbon Street casino. It had a decent run but eventually closed due to an internal spat between the casino owners and the hotel owners. The hotel ran without the casino for awhile but that didn’t work too well. It became the The Westin Casuarina in 2003 and was later renamed to simply the Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa (see pictures of the old Maxim below).
The press release indicated a planned launch in the next 90 days so we won’t have to wait long to find out.