Affiliate Q&A - David Harrod, Account Manager at North Star Network

By On
Income Access interview with North Star Network for an Affiliate Q&A

With our latest Affiliate Q&A, we spoke to David Harrod, Account Manager at North Star Network. North Star Network is a leading affiiate in a variety of different markets like North America, LATAM and Australia. In this interview, we talk to David about the UK, LATAM and regulations around the industry.

Income Access (IA): Thanks for speaking with us David! Can you tell us a bit about your background in the iGaming industry and current role with North Star Network?

David Harrod of North Star Network interviews with Income Access for Affiliate Q&A

David Harrod (DH): Thanks for the invitation to speak with you. In terms of background, I came to the industry a bit differently than others. I’m Australian, and had been working for five years in sports analytics, primarily in the valuation of media assets and sponsorships for large rights holders such as the NRL, Cricket Australia, and Supercars. Australia has a well-established sports betting industry so I became very familiar with the regulations and brand objectives of major partners such as TAB, Sportsbet, Ladbrokes, etc. I joined North Star shortly after moving to France as the account manager for English-speaking markets. In my current role, I am responsible for dealing directly with operators on matters of promotions, compliance, and growth, across four key regulated markets: UK/Ireland, USA, Ontario, and Australia.

IA: You’ve been involved in the world of iGaming with North Star for a couple of years now. What’s been the most exciting aspect of the industry for you so far?

DH: It's an exciting industry and one where you’re always learning. For me, it’s an interesting challenge to balance the compliance-heavy established markets such as the UK and Australia with the rapid growth of Nigeria and India. Working within the USA has also been a valuable experience; it is already one of the largest markets and still many states are yet to open. The jostling for top position between the Fantasy brands (DraftKings and FanDuel), and the big casinos (BetMGM, Caesars) has been a boon for affiliates with the large deals on offer. I think the entry of the third category – media linked operators such as ESPN BET – will only increase this opportunity, assuming that the states are not overly punitive with taxes and regulations. I’ll include Canada in this potential also, as Ontario has shown how provinces/states can regulate effectively, albeit with very strong protections and marketing rules. 

The UK is a very competitive iGaming sports betting market and North Star Network has a strong foothold in the area. What does it take for an affiliate to standout in this competitive space?

It is a very competitive market, but the UK is a nation of sports fans with a population who trust the operators – likely because of the brand reputation built up from physical locations across many of the large companies – and which is comfortable with online transactions. For North Star, we have made several recent acquisitions in Sportsmole and MrFixitstips to solidify our place as a leading affiliate in the market. We focus on our own sites rather than partnerships, and trust our experienced team of writers, content specialists and SEO experts to deliver quality traffic. I say to all the affiliate managers I work with that we are considering our partnership over years rather than an inflated short-term impact. Having our own sites allows us to be flexible and react to market changes such as the Google updates, which impacted the industry so significantly in late 2023 and again in May this year. 

IA: LATAM is experiencing explosive growth in the iGaming world, with Brazil being one of the biggest players. What do you see as the biggest opportunities for affiliates in this market?

DH: Brazil is already the largest and most established market for North Star, with major sites Trivela, UmDoisEsportes, and LakersBrasil. However, we still see this as being a primary avenue for growth, especially with the new regulations. I would expect the licence requirements to attract the large North American companies such as DraftKings and condense the industry around a few giants. This isn’t like the USA, where the market was a blank slate prior to regulation; millions of Brazilians already have established loyalties with their providers, so expect to see the current leaders Bet365, Betano, Pix Bet, and Betnacional to remain strong. 

As for the rest of LATAM, we are excited about Chile and Peru, and have acquired some large sites in these markets such as AlAireLibre. However, for North Star, we are very excited with what we are seeing out of several African markets; Cote d’Ivoire, among others, is bringing very high volumes of players with strong player value.

IA: North Star Network hosts sports communities across the world, in over 30+ countries. How do you and the team work to connect with audiences across the world?

DH: North Star connects with audiences across the world by delivering rich, authentic sports coverage produced by over 250 journalists and experts globally. Our sites each have a clear identity and focus, with coverage produced by sport/team-specific specialists with a view to engaging with knowledgeable, passionate and informed supporters. We combine a data-driven approach and a creative fan-focused spirit of coverage to provide a colourful, diverse approach to develop the authority of our sites and ensure a loyal, returning readership.

Visit North Star Network to get the latest info on their company!

Thanks to David for sitting down with us to chat and be sure to get in touch with this team to discuss any partnerships!

Contact North Star