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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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PENN Entertainment Will Need ESPN’s Branding Magic To Thrive

  • PENN is turning to ESPN after three years of Barstool branding.
  • ESPN will overlay its branding on top of PENN’s existing betting infrastructure — which includes the PENN Interactive Gaming Platform.
A view of the Barstool Sportsbook bar.
Paul Kuehnel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

After three years of using the Barstool Sports brand for its flagship sportsbook product to underwhelming returns, PENN Entertainment needed the kind of rebrand to give it a fighting chance in what is already an ultra-competitive sports betting market.

That’s where ESPN Bet comes in.

PENN purchased 100% of Barstool — including Barstool Sportsbook — in February, but hit a rough patch after it missed earnings projections and had a public spat with Barstool in May. Now, PENN is going all-in on a reboot with ESPN.

Man wearing ESPN logo on back of shirt while court side at mens college basketball game

ESPN Makes Landmark Entry Into Sports Betting With PENN Entertainment Deal

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“This agreement with ESPN and collaboration on ESPN Bet allows us to take another step forward as an industry leader,” PENN Entertainment CEO and president Jay Snowden. “Together, we can utilize each other’s strengths to create the type of experience that existing and new bettors will expect from both companies.”

ESPN will overlay its branding on top of PENN’s existing betting infrastructure — which includes the PENN Interactive Gaming Platform, an updated, proprietary sportsbook platform the company launched and migrated Barstool Sportsbook to in July.

The company should also continue as a liaison for state regulators — so ESPN won’t have to get its hands dirty with sports betting regulatory matters.

If the gamble pays off, PENN’s collaboration with ESPN could pay huge dividends in the near and distant future.

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