Media companies launching sportsbooks is not new in the U.S. and the latest giant reportedly considering the plunge is none other than Worldwide Leader ESPN.
The biggest sports media company in the nation is apparently considering all options per a report by respected journalist Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.
ESPN has doubtless looked at the Gold Rush feel to the expanding legal betting market in the U.S. and decided it’s time to consider a piece of the action for itself.
In 2019 Fox Sports teamed up with The Stars Group to launch FOX Bet, while controversial media outlet Barstool Sports has now launched its own sportsbook after acquisition by Penn National Gaming. Successful sports news and scores app TheScore is another media brand to go all in on the sportsbook business.
ESPN sportsbook in works
McCarthy’s report says discussions remain at an early stage, but that ESPN is looking at all the available routes to capitalizing on the boom in sports betting.
“Everything’s now on the table at ESPN,” said one source. “They’re exploring everything.”
As well as investing heavily in sports betting programming, ESPN is already driving significant revenues from partnerships in the space.
Media + betting = big bucks
In 2020 it inked a multi-year deal with Caesars to feature William Hill odds on its platforms. But launching a sportsbook – and becoming the online bookmaker – is a way bigger decision.
The audience ESPN already reaches though makes the whole idea something with potential that is just off the charts. It makes your faithful scribe Stryker’s head hurt with the numbers going round in it. Like the guy on The Hangover – the crazy one counting the cards.