Major commercial sports content providers have started to embrace the wagering industry in a major way, as evidenced by the recent spate of partnership deals with leading land-based and online sports betting operators.
Last month saw ESPN join forces with Caesars Entertainment to bring sports betting news and entertainment content to fans around the world. According to a press release, the deal includes building a new ESPN-branded studio at The LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where sports betting-themed content will be created, along with segments for ESPN’s recently launched sports betting-related show, Daily Wager. Caesars’ data and branding will also be integrated across ESPN programming within the coming weeks for use across ESPN’s content.
“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before,” said Mike Morrison, vice president of business development at ESPN. “We are poised to expand our coverage in a big way and working with a category leader like Caesars Entertainment will help us serve these highly engaged, diverse sports fans with the best and most relevant content possible.”
“We’re really excited about the long-term value this collaboration with ESPN will create and thrilled that, starting immediately, ESPN’s platforms will begin featuring odds information generated by Caesars Entertainment,” added Chris Holdren, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Caesars Entertainment.
The studio will reportedly serve as a Vegas hub for odds-related content and will contribute to any number of ESPN linear, digital and social shows as well as ESPN.com and the ESPN app. It will also play a vital role during major sporting events, and especially during the growing number of marquee events hosted in Las Vegas. The new studio will launch in 2020.
Caesars will also serve as ESPN’s official odds data supplier across TV and digital, receiving associated attribution across ESPN. Additional advertising and sponsorship activations will roll out in the coming months and throughout the deal term.
Caesars and ESPN are not alone in forming a beneficial sports wagering-based partnership. The Stars Group, a provider of technology-based product offerings in the global gaming and interactive entertainment industries, and FOX Sports, a unit of Fox Corporation recently unveiled plans to launch FOX Bet, the first-of-its kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the U.S. The Stars Group and FOX Sports have entered a long-term commercial agreement through which FOX Sports will provide The Stars Group with an exclusive license to use certain FOX Sports trademarks, according to press materials.
The Stars Group and FOX Sports expect to launch two products in the fall of 2019 under the FOX Bet umbrella. One will be a nationwide free-to-play game, awarding cash prizes to players who correctly predict the outcome of sports games. The second product, which will be named FOX Bet, will give customers in states with regulated betting the opportunity to place real-money wagers on the outcome of a wide range of sporting events in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
In addition to the commercial agreement of up to 25 years and associated product launches, Fox Corporation will acquire 14,352,331 newly issued common shares in The Stars Group, representing 4.99 percent of The Stars Group’s issued and outstanding common shares.
“We believe this strategic partnership uniquely positions us to build a leading betting business in the U.S., which represents one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of The Stars Group. “Leveraging our proven media partnership strategy with Sky Sports in the UK, we are excited to partner with FOX Sports to integrate wagering into sports media and drive customer acquisition and retention in the U.S.”
Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of FOX Sports, “Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the FOX Sports brand.”