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Espn Betting Show
- ESPN Sports Betting channel includes ESPN2’s Daily Wager and SportCenter
- William Hill sports betting apps included in ESPN's Caesar Entertainment deal
- New online show Bet available live and on-demand via ESPN app and social feeds
US broadcast giant ESPN has launched a YouTube channel dedicated to sports wagering as part of a digital expansion of its betting-related content portfolio.
The new ESPN Sports Betting channel will contain segments from the network’s linear sports betting news show Daily Wager, which usually airs on ESPN2. Other content, including coverage from the network’s SportCenter show, will also be included on the channel.
Meanwhile, ESPN also plans to debut a new sports betting show called Bet across all its digital platforms. Co-hosted by Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum, the show will be streamed three times a week and is also available to watch on-demand.
The show’s first production will stream ahead of ESPN’s Monday Night Football (MNF) doubleheader. While times may vary due to events, subsequent Monday shows will go live at the usual time of 6.30pm ET, while streams on Wednesday and Thursday have been billed for 7.30pm ET.
Coverage will be available via the ESPN app and social feeds, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
- NBA legend Michael Jordan takes DraftKings equity stake
“Bet will allow us to connect with fans and drive the conversation in a way that leverages what we do best on social and digital platforms,” said Mike Foss, ESPN’s senior director for digital and social content.
“We have seen tremendous success and growth in our slate of digital shows in 2020. Bet will showcase an amazing new studio in The LINQ [Las Vegas] and we are tremendously excited about delivering a new live and interactive show core to our audience expansion priority.”
ESPN has also signed two multi-year partnerships with Caesar Entertainment and DraftKings. Under the terms of each deal, Caesars will become ESPN's exclusive odds provider, while betting operator DraftKings becomes the sports network's exclusive daily fantasy sports provider.
Both parties will also become co-exclusive sportsbook link-out providers to ESPN. As part of its deal with Caesars, US sportsbook William Hill's betting apps will also appear on ESPN's digital assets, including the ESPN web and mobile platforms and the ESPN fantasy app.
“Our new agreements with Caesars and DraftKings collectively represent the next significant milestone for ESPN to diversify our exposure and deepen our commitment in the sports betting space,” said Mike Morrison, ESPN's vice president of business development and innovation.
“We began growing the experience through content, followed by odds utilising William Hill’s sports betting data and a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Las Vegas through our deal with Caesars, and now with the addition of DraftKings, we are bringing together the sports media leader with two of the top brands and best products in the segment.”
William Hill was recently named the exclusive sports betting operator for Caesars Entertainment, following the casino's merger with Eldorado Resorts in July.
William Hill's chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson added: 'ESPN is one of the pre-eminent brands in sports. Tens of millions of fans will now have a direct link to our sports betting apps and odds. Giving ESPN users this access will accelerate our leadership as we continue to expand in the US.'
The move comes amid a flurry of sports betting deals in the US, including a five-year partnership between Comcast-owned media group NBC Sports and Australian sportsbook PointsBet. That deal, reportedly worth in the region of US$500 million, was followed by a separate five-year agreement signed between PointsBet with the University of Colorado, marking the first gambling partnership in US college sports.
Meanwhile, a multi-year sports betting deal was also recently struck by the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball (MLB) outfit and DraftKings, which has also recently signed on former National Basketball Association (NBA) icon Michael Jordon as a special advisor.
Espn Betting Show
Ongoing growth in US sports betting comes after the US Supreme Court ruled in May 2018 that individual states would be given power to legalise sportsbooks.
Eighteen states have since adopted new betting laws that have enabled leagues and franchises to cash in on betting sponsors. According to Axios, four further bills have been passed in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, while bills in nine other states are still active.
Over the last few months, rumors of ESPN expanding their presence in the sports betting industry have been gaining steam. Apparently, some pundits and insiders believe that the world’s premier leader in sports will build off their expanded sports betting coverage to establish their own sports betting platform. It’s been speculated that ESPN could follow what DraftKings or FanDuel have done by creating a sports betting niche within their established ESPN app and fantasy gaming.
Disney’s CEO Comments on ESPN and Sports Betting
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These rumors and speculations have had enough legs under them that the CEO of Walt Disney, Bob Iger, publicly addressed this topic in the company’s recent earnings call. Keep in mind, The Walt Disney Company owns ESPN and ultimately makes the final decisions on matters like this. Iger went on to say:
“I don’t see The Walt Disney Company, certainly in the near term, getting involved in the business of gambling, in effect, by facilitating gambling in any way.”
Iger’s comments of “facilitating gambling in any way,” is in regards to the Walt Disney Company or any of its owned entities like ESPN creating a sports betting app or purchasing a sportsbook. In other words, Mickey Mouse isn’t going to become a bookie anytime in the near future. However, that doesn’t mean that ESPN can’t continue to cover sports betting:
“I do think that there’s plenty of room, and ESPN has done some of this already and they may do more to provide information in coverage of sports, as a for instance, that would be relevant to and of particular interest to gambling and not be shy about it, basically being fairly overt about it. But getting into the business of gambling, I rather doubt it.”
Sports Betting Coverage
It should be noted that covering sports betting has become a big money industry. For example, Bleacher Report has seen significant growth in visitors and revenue as they’ve increased their coverage of sports betting. Furthermore, Turner Sports just signed a deal with Caesars Entertainment to create a studio show for Bleacher Report’s sports betting coverage. This is another sign of the increasing sentiment that sports betting is a huge moneymaker for entities that cover sports.