Big Brands Continue to Tap into Fast-Growing US Sports Betting Industry

In this column, Betting USA will explore a trio of recent partnerships and marketing agreements that point to mainstream brands’ growing comfort with sports betting.

The three items are:

  • ESPN further expands its betting content with new daily wager podcast and radio specials.
  • BetMGM partners with TopGolf for brand awareness
  • Verizon acknowledges that the popularity of sports wagering helped drive growth in Q4 2020.

ESPN Expands Sports Betting Portfolio

The multinational cable sports channel, considered the worldwide leader in sports, has dabbled in sports betting-related content for over a decade. Two years ago, after the Supreme Court ruled that a nationwide sports betting ban was unconstitutional, ESPN launched Daily Wager, a sports betting news and information TV program.

Fast-forward to last week when ESPN announced that it would be expanding its sports wagering portfolio, as well as the Daily Wager brand with the launch of a new podcast and a series of radio specials.

ESPN’s current sports betting portfolio includes link integrations across ESPN digital platforms that connect fans to sportsbooks from William Hill and DraftKings; a sports betting show on the ESPN App and social media feeds; a sports betting channel on YouTube; and dedicated shows such as Mike Greenberg’s Bettor Days.

Key features of the ESPN announcement:

  • The Daily Wager Podcast will debut on March 15th.
  • The first of four Daily Wager Tournament Preview radio specials will be broadcast on ESPN Radio on March 20th.
  • The Podcast will feature on weekdays all year round and will be hosted by popular anchors and sports betting analysts such as Doug Kerizan and Tyler Fulghum.
  • The Daily Wager Podcast will focus on the biggest games and best plays for the night.

ESPN expects that its Podcasts will continue to grow in popularity, as they did in 2020. Last year, ESPN Podcasts grew 28% with a record 499.3 million downloads.

TopGolf and BetMGM Team Together to Bolster Brand Identities

In a recent press release, BetMGM, and the technology-enabled global sports and entertainment community, TopGolf Entertainment announced the formation of a partnership “centered around an integrated sports betting and entertainment experience.”

Key features of the BetMGM-TopGolf announcement:

  • BetMGM digital branding throughout TopGolf venues in cities where BetMGM operates, such as Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Nashville, Detroit, and Denver.
  • BetMGM will activate branding and promotional integrations in other TopGolf locations as its sports betting platforms become available in other US states.

As per BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost:

“We look forward to introducing Topgolf guests to the immersive sports betting experience that only BetMGM can provide. Topgolf is known for offering unique and interactive entertainment options, which our loyal BetMGM users can now access through a variety of exclusive and customized packages.”

US Sports Betting Helped Push Verizon’ Growth

In November last year, Verizon Communications got its Yahoo sports betting venture on its feet in New Jersey. In January 2021, the group announced that it planned to expand its online partnership with MGM Resorts to at least five other states.

Verizon’s venture into US sports betting paid off. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Verizon Media reported revenue growth for the first time since it acquired Yahoo three years ago. Betting prospects played a part in that growth.

Verizon’s Chief Business Officer, Ivan Markman, recently told Forbes:

“If you’re checking sports scores on Yahoo Sports, you should also be able to place bets in the same content ecosystem. For sports betting, we’re currently live in six states and expect to be in three more states very soon (Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania). This is an area we believe can drive enormous growth for our company.”

Two weeks ago, it was announced that Verizon-owned Yahoo Sports would be joining with the NBA in its production of betting-centric broadcasts. The plan is for Yahoo Sports to start distributing the feed as part of its League Pass platforms.

However, the plan may be complicated by restriction rights.

The relationship between the NBA, Yahoo, and BetMGM made the broadcasts possible. However, both Yahoo and the NBA, who are BetMGM partners in their own right, already work with Yahoo’s fantasy basketball product and have a League Pass distribution agreement.

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