While ESPN has been the go-to for sports fans for decades, offering the inside scoop on sporting events from around the world, the brand has yet to become involved in the US sports betting industry. And we stress yet. Apparently, late last week, news reports surfaced that the company is looking to enter the market, with potential deals on the table with DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ESPN has been in talks with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings on using its brand for sports betting. It is expected that $3 billion or more will be spent by an operator to snag a deal with the coveted sports media brand.
With a deal, ESPN would be able to license its name to a sportsbook provider or even rename a book in its likeness. It is unclear as to what a deal will fully entail since the talks are just beginning. With the sports betting market about to get super busy due to NFL games, some feel that the brand is looking to open its own sportsbook.
In the WSJ report, co-founder & CEO of Roundhill Investments, Will Hersey, stated that he feels a branded sportsbook is in the works. Hersey pointed out that if Disney embraces sports betting, then mainstream acceptance of sports betting has been reached in the United States. Disney is the parent company of the ESPN brand.
It would not be surprising to see ESPN partner with DraftKings and Caesars. Last year, the brand announced co-exclusive link integration deals with both companies just after the NFL season began. As part of this deal, Caesars Sportsbooks took on the role of the exclusive odds provider for ESPN via several platforms. DraftKings was named the daily fantasy sports provider.
Will It Be Successful?
If ESPN does end up launching a branded sportsbook, will it be successful? Will sports bettors migrate from top names like FanDuel and BetMGM to place bets with the media outlet? This remains to be seen. Of course, the ESPN brand is well-known and brings with it prestige and reliability. But is it enough to create a large database of sports bettors?
It will certainly be interesting to see how ESPN moves into the sports betting world and if a new sportsbook is part of the equation. As talks continue, we expect more information to be revealed in the coming days or weeks ahead.