Tuesday December 5, 2023

Sports Betting Gold Rush

  • ESPN has been expanding its sports betting footprint.
  • April was the second-biggest month ever for the U.S. gaming industry.
ESPN/Design: Alex Brooks
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An ESPN sportsbook could be on the way as the media giant goes all-in on sports betting.

Discussions are early, but pending legalization of sports betting in ESPN’s home state of Connecticut is speeding up the process, sources told Front Office Sports.

ESPN has been expanding its sports betting footprint. Last September, the network signed deals with DraftKings and Caesars. ESPN and Caesars opened a studio in Las Vegas for ESPN2’s “Daily Wager.”

There’s a sports betting gold rush happening all across media right now: 

  • Fox Sports and The Stars Group teamed up to create the Fox Bet sportsbook, which now operates in Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Flutter acquired TSG for $6 billion, putting Fox in business with the owner of FanDuel.
  • After investing $163 million for a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, Penn National has launched the Barstool Sportsbook in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.
  • Dan Le Batard and John Skipper’s Meadowlark recently kicked off its $50 million partnership with DraftKings via a 24-hour marathon show.

Driven largely by sports betting, April was the second-biggest month ever for the U.S. gaming industry. Revenue grew 26% to $4.4 billion, according to the American Gaming Association. That trailed only the $4.8 billion made during March Madness.

ESPN has successfully launched line extensions before, but the company’s previous forays into cell phones, restaurants, and magazines eventually fizzled.

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