- MaximBet has launched MaximBet Play, their first ever free-to-play app.
- Carousel Gaming announced a partnership with Maxim Media–publisher of Maxim Magazine–in early April 2021.
- MaximBet launched their platform in Colorado in September 2021.
One of the more intriguing partnerships to come about in the US sports betting market during the past year involved European gaming firm Carousel Group and Maxim Media–publishers of Maxim Magazine. Carousel Group had launched their sportsbook platform in Colorado under the SportsBetting.com brand but in April 2021 announced that under an agreement with Maxim Media it would be rebranded as ‘MaximBet’. The press release announcing the deal gave a launch time frame of 90 days–they would end up missing that goal but on September 2, 2021 the Colorado sportsbook formerly known as ‘SportsBetting.com’ was reincarnated as MaximBet.
There’s plenty of companies trying to unite the disparate worlds of mainstream media and sports betting. We talked about streaming network fuboTV’s sportsbook endeavor Fubo Sportsbook just the other day and their rivals at DAZN are trying to pull together a sports betting strategy as we speak. On the same weekend that MaximBet debuted in Colorado so too did SI Sportsbook, a partnership between Sports Illustrated and 888 Holdings. As of this writing, that has been their only launch though 888 operates a casino, sportsbook and poker platform in New Jersey under their own brand. The biggest sportsbook/media tie in could be ‘waiting in the wings’ as Disney has made it clear that they’re ‘pursuing opportunities in the space’. Now we’re not going to get ‘Mickey’s Sportsbook’ branded with Mickey Mouse–the most likely scenario is for Disney owned ESPN to do a partnership with a gaming company a la Sports Illustrated. Not sure of what the financial terms would be in such an arrangement but my sources in the finance industry have suggested that we’re talking at least a billion USD.
This now brings us back to Maxim Magazine and their move into sports betting. The 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’. Hindsight being 20/20, the decline of the print edition of Maxim in the US (and to some extent in Europe) had more to do with the transformation of the entire publishing ecosystem by this thing called ‘the Internet’ than it did with any type of public repudiation of their format.
When I first received the MaximBet press release, I decided to do some research on the continued viability of the Maxim brand. More so than most 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. Vague circulation figures are endemic to the magazine industry which hasn’t done much to help them navigate the digital era.
No matter how many copies of the print edition Maxim now moves one thing is certain–the brand has endured and is extremely viable today. They have a strong excellent readership, international reach and the Maxim brand now has borderline iconic status. Maybe not as iconic as the Playboy brand–the legendary Playboy rabbit head is one of the most recognizable trademarks on the planet–but still a very strong brand both in the US and around the world. The most impressive component of the Maxim brand is the demographics of their readership which is made to order for sports betting. I’ve got a lot more about Maxim’s demos on my original article but the readership is 30ish, affluent, investment savvy and enjoy indulging in luxuries. 15% of the print magazine’s readership are millionaires and the average income of Maxim’s online platform is $112,000 USD. In other words, the perfect target market for sports betting.
MaximBet has started to pick up some momentum late in the year. They’ve launched in Colorado and got a lot of press for offering ‘Name, Image, Likeness (NIL)’ contracts to all Division I, II and III female athletes over the age of 21 in the Centennial State. The put on a big Halloween party in Denver with Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Fat Joe and the multi-platinum electronic DJ trio Cheat Codes. No doubt more parties are forthcoming–they really need to set me with VIP access for these for purely ‘journalistic purposes’. I spend a lot of time and Denver and I’m really surprised that more sportsbooks don’t leverage the city itself for promotional purposes. There’s plenty of billboards, light rail ads, etc. but few that take advantage of Denver like this. I’d sign up with any sportsbook that put together a VIP event at the Churchill Cigar Bar in The Brown Palace Hotel or hooked me up with dinner at Panzano, the excellent Italian room at the Hotel Monaco Denver. Most important to MaximBet’s long term viability are market access deals which has them slated to launch in Iowa, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Canada is also in their plans as the ‘single game’ sports betting market opens up there.
They’ve now launched their first ever free-to-play platform called MaximBet Play. Free-to-play apps are now ubiquitous in the US market but they’re a great way to establish a brand (as well as compile a marketing database) on a nationwide level. The MaximBet Play app was developed with Splash Tech, one of the heavy hitters in free-to-play gaming technology. It’s already available for Android in the Google Play Store and I’m assuming for iOS at the Apple App Store.
Just in time for the holidays, MaximBet is also launching college football bowl contest. Here’s the scoop on that:
To celebrate the kickoff of MaximBet Play, MaximBet is rolling out an epic free-to-play promotion in time for one of the biggest sporting events of the holidays – college bowl season. The MaximBet Play “Crystal Bowl” game will challenge fans to correctly predict the result of 25 college bowl games beginning December 28, along with some of the most popular and entertaining prop bets around those games. The campaign ends with the national championship game on January 10 with users competing for a chance to win a portion of a guaranteed $10,000 prize pool.
In addition to the ‘Crystal Bowl’, Maxim Bet is planning to offer prizes galore for their free-to-play app:
In addition to Crystal Bowl, MaximBet Play users will be able to make free picks on hundreds of contests across all of the action during holiday season. Every day they will find more contests to play with the ability to earn points towards leaderboards with guaranteed prize pools. MaximBet Play will ultimately be about offering more than just cash rewards, with prizes ranging from luxury goods all the way to money-can’t-buy experiences, such as the exclusive MaximBet Big Game Party in LA in February.
Josh Littin, Chief Product Officer, MaximBet, is excited about the release of the free-to-play app and the ability to establish his brand with a broader audience:
“There is nothing better than college football bowl season and MaximBet is taking things to a whole new level this year with the launch of MaximBet Play and our Crystal Bowl game. Our new free-to-play app is going to bring the full MaximBet experience to college football fans everywhere, and they will lose their minds when they see all we have to offer. The launch allows our brand to reach fans in markets we are not yet live in as well as the broader sports community across the country.”
Adam Wilson, CEO of Splash Tech, gave the perspective from his company:
“Splash Tech and MaximBet both believe in delivering the best gaming experience possible. We think sports fans will agree MaximBet Play is everything they’ve been looking for in a free-to-play platform. Nobody is more focused on the user experience than MaximBet, and MaximBet Play offers the best bets on the biggest games with the coolest prizes, absolutely free.”
So go check it out. Kudos to MaximBet for ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to sportsbook promotion. This is why it is crucial to create sports betting regulations that welcome competition and innovation. No one has massive Halloween parties in backwards monopoly jurisdictions like Oregon or Delaware.