Announced this weekend, on Monday night ESPN debuted the first episode of Bet, a 30-minute program that will reportedly stream three nights a week across the sports channel’s digital platforms. The show originated from ESPN’s new state-of-the-art studio located at The LINQ Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, ahead of the annual Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader.
The new studio and content is courtesy of an agreement between the multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company and Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR), penned earlier this year which also includes segments for Daily Wager, ESPN’s first gambling-related series.
In addition to the new show [Bet], which, going forward will air on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening, per the official press release, ESPN also launched a dedicated sports gambling YouTube channel.
Bet is co-hosted by Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum and will be available for live and on-demand viewing on the ESPN App and on the network’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter social media feeds.
In a statement in the press release, Senior Director, Digital & Social Video, Social Content, for ESPN, Mike Foss said…
“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.
“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 and we are tremendously excited about delivering a new live and interactive show core to our audience expansion priority.”
Meanwhile, the YouTube channel will feature gambling-related segments from the Las Vegas-produced shows as well as general programming throughout the week, accordign to ESPN.
Per the collaboration inked in May 2020, Caesars Entertainment also serves as official odds data supplier to ESPN, across both TV and digital, and receive associated attribution company-wide. Meanwhile, other advertising and sponsorship activation have since launched and will continue throughout the duration of the contract.
As the legal sports betting market continues to grow in the U.S., these markets will become increasingly important to both leagues and networks.
Increased fan engagement is the biggest contributor to the $2.3 million annually the NFL looks to rake in from legal sports betting, according to a September 2018 Nielsen Sports Study (pdf) commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA).
Meanwhile, research recently released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) found that more than 33 million American adults plan to wager on the 2020-21 NFL season, with a greater number of bettors intending to place NFL wagers at both online sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar gaming venues than in 2019.
However, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in light of the pandemic, which, since mid-March, has put most sports in the U.S. on hold, resulting in “bubble seasons” and opt-outs, and as sports fans report “generally lower enthusiasm” for what has been called “the protest season” by Pete Carroll, coach of the National Football League’s (NFL) Seattle Seahawks.