Darren Rovell Leaves ESPN to Join The Action Network

Darren Rovell Action Network

Darren Rovell has occupied a unique position for a sports reporter at ESPN and CNBC over the years.

Darren Rovell, a longtime ESPN reporter, is leaving the sports network to join the Action Network. The Action Network is led Chad Millman, who once headed ESPN.com and oversaw the creation of the site’s gambling section (“Chalk”).

The Action Network is a sports media company which features analysis of the US sports betting landscape. The Action Network was established in 2017 in anticipation of increased sports betting in the United States.

The launch proved visionary when the US Supreme Court repealed the 25-year old PASPA sports betting ban in 46 states.

Now indidivual US states have the right to approve single-game sports bets. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates US residents bet $150 billion a year on sporting events. 97% of that turnover is done through illegal means, including local bookies and offshore online bookmaker sites.

Rovell’s Role at The Action Network

Darren Rovell’s role at The Action Network will include reporting on sports betting in the United States. Rovell also will have management and oversight of programming at the network, though the extent and nature of his managment status is not entirely known as the moment.

According to Ben Strauss of the Washington Post, Darren Rovell’s role will be as an executive producer on The Action Network. Strauss added he will “consult on larger content strategy” for the network.

When asked about the hiring, Mr. Rovell said, “They’re buying me as a brand. They’re buying a brand with two million Twitter followers. And I’ll be tweeting links to promote everything — the website, the app and my stories.”

He added that his new duties will include reporting on “all angles of the sports betting world — from big bets to bad beats to high-profile personalities to market move — as well as helping to develop best-in-class product ideas.”

About Darren Rovell

Darren Rovell attended Northwestern University, where he hosted a college radio show about sports business and interned with Fox Sports. Once he graduated, Rovell joined ESPN.com. In 2006, Darren Rovell joined CNBC and hosted five sports documentaries: Swoosh! Inside Nike, Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR, As Seen on TV, Business Model: Inside the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and Behind The Counter: The Untold Story of Franchising.

During that time, Rovell wrote two books: “First In Thirst: How Gatorade Turned The Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon” and “On the Ball: What You Can Learn About Business From America’s Sports Leaders” (co-written with David Carter).

Darren Rovell Rejoins ESPN

In 2012, Rovell rejoined ESPN. On the network’s Outside The Lines, he broke the story that Johnny Manziel was selling autographs while an amateur athlete at Texas A&M. He also appeared for non-sports news reports on ABC News, as ABC and ESPN are owned by the same entity, the Walt Disney Company.

During his time at CNBC and ESPN, Darren Rovell has had his share of controversy. He made controversial remarks about Meb Kelflezighi in 2009, when the San Diego-based marathoner was the first American to win the New York City Marathon since 1982. Rovell later apologized for calling Keflezighi a “ringer”.

Rovell won a 2008 Emmy Award for his contribution to NBC’s 2008 election coverage.

Darren Rovell Controversies

Twice, Rovell has been called out for citing incorrect information. In November 2011, Rovell failed to verify a Twitter user who claimed to run an escort service which had lost 30% of its business due to the NBA lockout. The Twitter user later told Deadspin he made up the story to expose Rovell.

In October 2012’s 30 for 30 episode “Broke” and a companion piece Rovell wrote for ESPN.com, Rovell made incorrect comments about the NFL Players Association’s Financial Advisor Program. When the correct information was added to the article, no editor’s note indicated the correction.

Patrick Keane on Darren Rovell

In a press release announcing his new job, Darren Rovell said, “Over the past several years my coverage of sports gambling has shifted from occasionally to nearly daily. This is a dynamic sector that will impact everything from data and media rights to sponsorship and fan engagement and I felt the only way to cover this business was to go all in.”

In his own press release announcing the hiring of Darren Rovell, Action CEO Patrick Keane described his new executive producer a “tireless promoter of all things”.

Brent Musberger’s VSiN Career

Darren Rovell’s move to The Action Network sounds similar to Brent Musberger’s move to the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN). In 2016, Musberger left ESPN to join a startup company which reports sports betting news. Musberger was given a programming and management role at VSiN.

Two years later, VSiN is on the cutting edge of the growing sports betting industry in the United States. Now Musberger writes two sports betting columns for the New York Post, while choosing VSiN talent to write articles the remaining 5 days of the week. Musberger also parlayed his role at VSiN into a radio broadcaster role for the Las Vegas Raiders.