Major sports networks in the country are rapidly warming up to sports betting as more states gradually make the shift towards legalization. In past weeks, both Fox Sports and Turner Sports have partnered with sports data companies. On tuesday, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN, also made their splash on the sports betting scene.
ESPN is partnering with one of the largest gaming corporations in the country, Caesars Entertainment. The joint venture will result in an ESPN studio being built inside the Linq Hotel, which will become the headquarters for all things sports betting for ESPN. It will also serve the purpose of offering coverage for events occurring around Las Vegas (in which the Linq Hotel is located).
In addition to incorporating the ESPN studio, Caesars Entertainment will be the official supplier of data relating to sporting event odds. This serves as a significant partnership for the sports mogul, as they’ve previously had an icy stance towards sports betting in general. It may have helped that Caesars previously had partnered with Turner Sports, helping cement the group as a reputable sports-odds group.
This move is certainly the largest in a recent wave of pro-sports betting action taken by ESPN. Their Vice President of Business, Mike Morrison, has acknowledged that the landscape of sports betting is now different, and that fans actively seek ESPN out for their sports odds. Because of this, they are actively altering what coverage they offer for viewers.
ESPN has added new shows related to sports betting, like Daily Wager. They also discuss the topic during SportsCenter, one of the more iconic content offerings the company creates. All of these shifts clearly indicate that ESPN sees that the market for sports betting is gigantic. Fox and Turner have both already signed deals, so it didn’t take long for ESPN to follow suit.
One thing that ESPN won’t be doing is helping people actually place wagers. Fox Sports is looking to create a mobile app with the Stars Group to allow users to place sports bets, but ESPN has no interest in creating any such app for their own use. Notably, ESPN currently does have a fairly popular mobile app of their own for supplying scores and stats.
Even if ESPN isn’t outright facilitating sports betting, their increased coverage of sports betting related content is a great change for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. The number of states with legalized sports betting are only bound to increase, so there is no giant surprise that ESPN has become an early adopter.