Shared and exclusive rights
ESPN has agreed two co-exclusive multi-year deals with Caesars Entertainment – in tandem with its sports betting partner William Hill – and DraftKings.
ESPN’s digital channels will link exclusively to William Hill and DraftKings sportsbooks, while the two operators will become the sports network’s exclusive odds provider and daily fantasy sports content provider, respectively.
In a tweet, ESPN outlined the intention to grow its brand within the sports betting market:
“Our new agreements with Caesars and DraftKings collectively represent the next significant milestone for ESPN to diversify our exposure […] in the sports betting space,” said Mike Morrison, ESPN’s vice president of business development and innovation.
As part of the new compact, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill will also sponsor ESPN’s extensive fantasy portfolio, which will exponentially expand its reach as the sports network’s exclusive odds provider.
transformational opportunity for sports fans and enthusiasts to engage and wager”
Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said in a press release that ESPN’s “unparalleled reach provides a transformational opportunity for sports fans and enthusiasts to engage and wager at their fingertips.”
The Caesars CEO also said the new agreement “closely followed” The Linq Hotel and Casino in Sin City premiering its new ESPN studio on August 24. The studio officially launched on September 9, an occasion marked by its maiden telecast, ESPN’s Daily Wager, hosted by Doug Kezirian.
Caesars tweeted the inaugural telecast, with Kezirian getting the ribbon-snipping honors:
Ulrik Bengtsson, William Hill’s group CEO, is another who recognizes the brand clout ESPN brings. “Tens of millions of fans will now have a direct link to our sports betting apps and odds,” he noted.
This massive audience is also gold for DraftKings. Co-founder and CEO Jason Robins also spoke of ESPN’s “unparalleled” reach, adding that “the start of NFL is the perfect time for DraftKings to be launching this integration.”
Dash of the Titans
ESPN’s partnership with DraftKings, Caesars, and William Hill comes as the sports betting landscape is transforming at a thrilling pace. Just a few weeks back, NBC and PointsBet penned a $500m sports gambling deal, giving the Aussie-based sportsbook access to NBC Sports’ 60 million monthly active digital users and 184 million TV viewers.
ESPN’s customer marketing and sales pegs its TV audience at 118 million fans per day across ten networks, plus 85.8 million monthly sports fans through its digital channels.
sports wagering is quickly becoming endemic to the overall experience of the sports fan”
Fan engagement figures like these, and an increasing corporate awareness of brand loyalty, is driving the big deals. Mark Walker, ESPN’s senior VP of business development and innovation, said yesterday that “sports wagering is quickly becoming endemic to the overall experience of the sports fan.”