The sports media group has signed several major partnerships this week
Sports gambling is gaining more territory across US markets with more companies closing deals as major companies get more involved in the sports industry. ESPN has been aggressively adding sports betting-related content and has now signed a separate deal with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings. This multiyear link integration agreement, which also ties in odds offered by William Hill, is coming to expand a deal signed last year that included the creation of an ESPN-branded studio at the LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
DraftKings and ESPN have continued to have a rollercoaster relationship for the past few years. It started five years ago when Disney-owned ESPN wanted to make a $250-million investment in DraftKings. However, that deal was called off shortly after and recreated as an exclusive advertising-based deal for daily fantasy sports. That, in turn, ended early because of the doubts regarding the legality of daily fantasy sports and how similar it was to gambling. Now that sports wagering is becoming legal in more states, and with Disney owning a 6% minority stake in DraftKings, the new alignment is for DraftKings to become ESPN’s exclusive daily fantasy sports and co-exclusive sportsbook link-out provider.
“Our new agreements with Caesars and DraftKings collectively represent the next significant milestone for ESPN to diversify our exposure and deepen our commitment in the sports betting space,” said Mike Morrison, ESPN’s vice president of business development and innovation. “We began growing the experience through content, followed by odds utilizing William Hill’s sports betting data and a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Las Vegas through our deal with Caesars, and now with the addition of DraftKings, we are bringing together the sports media leader with two of the top brands and best products in the market.” The financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.