XLMedia gears up for North Carolina launch with WRAL.com deal

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XLMedia has penned a deal with Capitol Broadcasting Company to establish a readership base in North Carolina ahead of the sports betting launch early next year.

Under the terms of the deal, Capitol Broadcasting Company brands including WRAL.com and wralsportsfan.com will become partner websites of XLMedia, which will, in turn, become the exclusive provider of sports betting content.  

This deal ensures that XLMedia will have access to the four million unique monthly users that the publisher has in the Tar Heel State ahead of the anticipated launch of sports betting that could come as early as January. 

Whilst it helps XLMedia expand upon its media partnership business, WRAL.com gains access to additional sports expertise and new revenue opportunities. 

Chris Weatherly, Vice President of Digital for Capitol Broadcasting Company, commented: “WRAL Digital is excited to partner with XLMedia’s experienced team to generate relevant and engaging sports betting content for our audience.

“We know the anticipation and demand around this content will be at an all-time high entering 2024, and being able to partner with XLMedia gives us a big advantage.” 

XLMedia has long identified the US as having the most potential for its long-term prospects and new state launches provide a significant boost to its operations.

North Carolina as one of the top 10 most populous states in the US is earmarked as a key state for affiliates and operators alike, particularly when considering the number of pro and college sports teams. 

The affiliate group has also aimed to enhance its position by linking with a series of high-profile media publishers in the US such as Newsweek and local deals evidenced by this WRAL deal as well as a similar one with MassLive in Massachusetts. 

David King, XLMedia CEO, commented: “We are very pleased to be able to build upon our MPB success by adding another prominent publisher in a key state with strong presence for both professional and college sports. This is an important revenue opportunity for both businesses.

“In line with our stated strategy, this agreement furthers our efforts to expand our North America footprint in select markets to capitalize on the US’s growing sports betting market.”

Reinforcing its increasing focus on sports and gaming markets, XLMedia recently offloaded a series of assets relating to personal finance. Yet in H1 trading, a lack of state launches proved to lay a tricky path for the affiliate in the US with fewer opportunities to onboard new users.

Those difficulties have been echoed by Catena Media, which reported earlier today that a lack of state launches has resulted in revenue declines for the Swedish firm which is also targeting US success.