ESPN announced a new partnership with DraftKings and Caesar’s Entertainment on Monday. This will be a co-partnership, which will help connect ESPN fans to DraftKings and William Hill Sportsbooks. Between the two sports betting operators, ESPN will begin using William Hill odds for sports betting, and DraftKings will become ESPN’s Daily Fantasy Sports partner. ESPN.com will use geolocation to track and use William Hill odds in states were the U.K. sports betting operator is located.
Both sports betting operators will have their way of integrating sports betting and daily fantasy sports analysis into ESPN. The co-partnership comes shortly after ESPN launched a new Las Vegas studio at the LINQ Hotel + Experience to expand into the sports betting industry.
“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, Vice President of Business Development & Innovation, ESPN. “We began growing the experience through content, followed by odds utilizing 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.”
ESPN Betting Expansion
ESPN has slowly started expanding into the sports betting industry over the last few years. On ESPN.com, you can find the “Chalk” link at the top of their page. This is where they have news on sports betting news and odds at the top of their website.
On top of that, they have The Daily Wager, which is an evening show discussing that night’s odds and bets. Now, with the Caesar’s Entertainment and DraftKings partnerships, they get that much more into the industry.
It was only a matter of time before ESPN found a sports betting partnership. Almost every major sports network now has a partnership with some sports betting operators. CBS Sports recently partnered with William Hill, who is now also partners with ESPN thanks to the Caesar’s and Eldorado merger. Fox Sports has FOX Bet, and NBC Sports announced a multi-year partnership with PointsBet a few weeks ago.
Now, ESPN has two sports betting partners as one will focus on sports wagering while the other focuses on Daily Fantasy Sports. One impressive thing with the co-partnership is the foresight to bring in a DFS partner.
ESPN will be the first one to have such a partner where other sports media companies are focusing in on just sports betting.
Can ESPN become a Sports Betting Media Player?
ESPN is a tad late to the sports betting party. Over the last few years, the sports betting industry in the U.S. has blown up, and more coverage is being focused on sports betting along with daily fantasy sports.
However, ESPN was not quick to jump the gun on sports betting, which is a bit of a surprise as ESPN is still the nation’s leader in sports media. The slow entrance into sports betting and DFS could be due to Disney owning part of ESPN, which everyone knows how the Disney brand operates.
Now, things are starting to shift and with the two major partners with Caesar’s and DraftKings partnering with ESPN. The World Wide Leader will continue the sports betting expansion with ESPN Chalk along with their new Las Vegas studio.
They could become a bigger player in sports betting as the industry grows, and partnering with Caesar’s and DraftKings certainly helps.