Caesars Entertainment and ESPN are partnering up to develop television programming content related to sports betting. This is the second major deal between a media giant and sports betting company after last week’s deal between FOX Sports and The Stars Group.
Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has been adamant about his company not being directly connected to the gambling business. “We’ll provide programming that will, I guess, be designed to enlighten people who are betting on sports,” said Iger. “But that’s as far as we would go.”
ESPN has traditionally used the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook for all of its odds-related content. But now as part of the deal, Caesars will have its odds data as part of ESPN programming. The deal will also create an ESPN studio inside Caesars’ Linq Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The studio is expected to be completed sometime next year.
Spreading the Wealth
This isn’t the first sports media company to be placed into a Caesars Las Vegas property. Earlier this year Turner Broadcasting announced its plans to build a Bleacher Report studio inside Caesars Palace for its own betting-related programming.
Caesars has 38 properties in 13 states, and they have a mobile app operating in New Jersey. For a company like ESPN, the short-term benefit of a deal like this will be the potential for higher TV ratings as well as ad revenue.
ESPN Vice President of Business Development Mike Morrison had this to say after the deal:
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“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before. 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.”
After the announcement of the deal, shares of Caesars Entertainment went up nearly three percent while Disney rose 2.5 percent.
Wanting In The Game
The sports betting landscape is constantly evolving in the United States. Media companies are looking for any possible way to get into the market. Sportsbooks need to find more ways to reach bigger audiences in a competitive environment. Partnering with a media giant is a big leg up on the competition.
Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, a top gambling-research firm, estimates that the sports betting market could reach $6.5 billion in revenue by the year 2023. With more and more states legalizing sports betting, those numbers don’t seem too far-fetched. That much revenue will surely catch the attention of companies looking to get a piece of that action.
On the same day that the partnership between Caesars and ESPN was announced, US casinos agreed to a code of conduct for responsible sports betting marketing. That includes limiting the number of ads aimed towards adult audiences. The same thing happened over in the UK. Bookmakers have agreed to not advertise during live games due to the impact that it could have on children.