The US broadcaster ESPN is currently having negotiations with the local gambling operators DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment over a multi-year agreement that would license its brand.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal is worth $3 billion. Reportedly, Walt Disney Co.’s broadcasting network has held discussions with the owners of the two gambling giants. ESPN already has marketing partnership agreements with both betting firms.
As revealed by unnamed people with knowledge of the situation, the sports network has held talks with the owners of the two companies, both of which are among the largest sportsbooks in the US. The people said that ESPN and the two sports betting operators have negotiated the right to use the ESPN branding in their offerings. According to them, at some point, this could end up with one of them renaming its sportsbook after the TV network.
One of the people familiar with the matter also shared that an agreement could also involve a marketing commitment of exclusivity that would guarantee that the sports betting operator invests some money to advertise on ESPN’s platform.
Of course, there is currently no guarantee that the US broadcaster will manage to reach an agreement with either one of the two sports betting giants. It still remains unknown whether Caesars Entertainment or DraftKings would be willing to pay for the ESPN branding, considering the fact that they already have made considerable investments into the establishment of their existing brands.
US Broadcaster’s Officials Want to Make Sure ESPN Is Not Directly Involved in Gambling Operations
Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings have established their own brands in the growing sports betting sector of the US.
In 2019, Caesars Entertainment entered a partnership agreement with ESPN to develop sports betting programming. In March 2021, DraftKings announced an expansion of its content capabilities with the purchase of Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN), a sports betting broadcasting firm. The offering of VSiN is already accessible through a number of network channels.
So far, the US broadcaster has been very careful about expanding its presence into the newly-legalized sports betting industry of the country. So far, it has agreed on partnership deals to integrate betting-related content and odds into some of its shows. Currently, there are also telecasts and podcasts associated with gambling that are available on the ESPN network. However, the broadcaster’s officials have said they want to make sure the company is not directly involved in gambling operations.
The more notable moves of the ESPN broadcasting network in the sports betting sector have included the roll-out of a specialized sports betting channel on YouTube. Earlier this year, in April, the US broadcaster offered its first sports betting broadcast for a game of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The latest sports betting push of ESPN comes at a time when more US states are on the way to legalizing their sports betting markets. According to the gambling research company Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, the US sports betting industry is expected to bring revenue of approximately $4 billion in 2021.