The Disney-owned sports media company is reported to want in on the growing US sports betting market.
US.- Disney’s ESPN is reportedly looking to licence its name to a US sports betting operator for upwards of $3bn for a multi-year deal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources, ESPN has been talking with major US sportsbook operators, including DraftKings and the casino operator Caesars Entertainment.
Both of those already have marketing partnerships with ESPN, but they also already have their own sports betting brands, so it’s unclear how an arrangement would work with ESPN.
It’s been suggested by some sources that a deal may involve an exclusive marketing commitment that would require the sports-betting company to invest a fixed sum in advertising on ESPN’s platforms.
Until now, ESPN has shown itself to be hesitant about entering the sports betting arena. It’s entered agreements to integrate odds and betting-related content and has podcasts and telecasts like Daily Wager, but it’s avoided direct involvement with gambling.
According to research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, US sports betting is expected to generate around $4bn this year. The industry is now legalised in 32 states and the district of Columbia, following the 2018 Supreme Court decision to allow states other than Nevada to offer sports betting.
Earlier this month, Genius Sports appointed former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein to the newly created executive role of president for North America. Last October, BetMGM appointed former ESPN digital chief Ryan Spoor as COO.