Walt Disney’s ESPN, after much reluctant to join the sports betting industry has penned a deal with casino-owner Penn Entertainment to jointly launch a sports betting business under the brand ESPN Bet.
It becomes ESPN’s sole sportsbook, bringing an end to previous alliances with companies like DraftKings and Caesars. Both names were previously mentioned as possible partners for the broadcaster’s sportsbook.
Meanwhile, Penn receives attribution and promotion services, as well as content integrations for digital products and traditional media. To increase exposure of ESPN Bet, it obtains access to ESPN talent and other services.
There is a huge audience it can reach. ESPN has more than 105 million unique digital visits per month, making it the most popular sports media brand in the US. Over 370 million people follow it on social media, and 25 million of them use its ESPN+ streaming service.
Over the course of the ten-year contract, Penn will pay $1.5 billion in cash payments. In exchange for providing media, marketing services, brand rights, and other rights, ESPN is given an additional $500 million worth of warrants to buy 31.8 million common Penn Shares.
If ESPN Bet succeeds in capturing a desired share of the online betting market, ESPN’s investment in the company could increase. If these performance benchmarks are met, ESPN will have the option to buy up to 6.4 million more common shares.
Additionally, it has the choice to name one non-voting board observer. This changes to an option to choose a director to be added to Penn’s board after the third year of the contract.
Our primary focus is always to serve sports fans and we know they want both betting content and the ability to place bets with less friction from within our products.
The strategy here is simple: to give fans what they’ve been requesting and expecting from ESPN. Penn Entertainment is the perfect partner to build an unmatched user experience for sports betting with ESPN Bet.
Penn and CEO Jay Snowden was “the right long-term strategic partner to build ESPN Bet into a leading US sports betting platform.Jimmy Pitaro Chair ESPN
In order to better align with ESPN’s style and name, Penn Entertainment is rebranding its current sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook, and making it accessible to consumers via a mobile app, website, and mobile website.
Penn Entertainment takes a step forward as an industry leader thanks to the “transformative, exclusive” agreement.
ESPN Bet will be deeply integrated with ESPN’s broad editorial, content, digital and linear product, and sports programming ecosystem. ESPN Bet will also benefit from Penn’s operational experience, extensive market access and proprietary technology platform, which successfully debuted in the U.S. this July.
Together, we can utilise each other’s strengths to create the type of experience that existing and new bettors will expect from both companies, and we can’t wait to get started.Jay Snowden CEO and President Penn Entertainment
Despite the fact that ESPN covers the world of sports betting on all of its platforms, this will be the first occasion when Americans can actually place bets using ESPN’s digital tools. Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia residents can take part.