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Globe sued over its supposed big bet on sports-wagering info by company that says it was going to run a new boston.com portal

A Danish company that operates Web sites for sports betters is suing the Boston Globe's parent company, charging the two were all set to build a sports-betting hub on boston.com until the Globe decided to ditch it at the last minute for a deal with the locally headquartered DraftKings.

In its suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court on Friday, Better Collective, which has US headquarters in New York, says it's out at least $750,000, much of that in payments it claims it made to Boston Globe Media Partners to reserve space on boston.com for a new "Betting Hub" that would provide news and other information for Massachusetts sports betters now that they can legally indulge in their hobby online.

BC is a leader in the industry with regard to the creation of online content and assets related to sports wagering. To induce BC to do business with it and pay it substantial fees, Globe Media held itself out as a willing, reliable, good faith and committed business partner. As it turned out, Globe Media was the exact opposite. ...

To date, BC paid Globe Media hundreds of thousands of dollars of fees which it did not earn, to which it is not entitle, and by which it has been unjustly enriched. Globe Media's breaches of the Agreement also caused BC to miss highly lucrative market windows and opportunities thereby causing BC additional damages.

Better Collective says Globe Media initially contacted it "in order to leverage Boston.com financially through sports wagering" though a new betting information portal. It says the two companies signed a deal on Aug. 19 to create a new part of boston.com devoted to sports-wagering information, which the Globe would market and maintain in exchange for a monthly fee from Better Collective, which would provide the content - and sell ad space, as it does on sites it runs. The goal was to have the section up and running by the time online wagering became legal in Massachusetts a few months later.

The Agreement provides for BC to produce content related to sports wagering relevant primarily to the Massachusetts market and other legal sports wagering states and to leverage its commercial relationships to provide advertisements for sports wagering Operators, such content and advertisements defined as "Betting Content." Boston.com was required to develop, maintain and host a subsection of its website to display the Betting Content on agreed-upon URLs, such subsection defined as the "Betting Hub."

But by Feb. 3, Better Collective alleges, Globe Media had done little or none of that - there was no betting section on boston.com ready to go, , had done no marketing of the upcoming service - let alone include a link in the site toolbars - had failed to do anything BC had requested in terms of search-engine optimization and had failed to apply for any licenses required under state law.

Better Collective demanded Globe Media immediately get the would-be site up to speed - and to lower the unspecified fee it was charging the company for space on boston.com. On March 15, the company continues, it canceled its contract with Globe Media after it became clear the Globe would do neither.

But it did accept money from Better Collective before, the company alleges.

Globe Media refused to negotiate because it wanted to end its relationship with BC so that it could enter into and/or expand its business relationship with DraftKings on more favorable terms to Globe Media.

At least as of this morning, all of the sports content on boston.com is bracketed, or "roadblocked" with DraftKings ads - which take people who click them to DraftKing's own site, rather than a boston.com landing page. The site also now has an online gambling content disclaimer.

In addition to the $750,000 it says it's out directly, Better Collective is damages for lost opportunities, all times three, plus attorneys' fees, with the exact amount of damages to be determined at a jury trial.

PDF icon Complete complaint543.97 KB


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