ESPN struck deals September 14 with Caesars Entertainment and sports betting operator DraftKings.
The network and Caesars agreed to a multi-year partnership to link ESPN’s digital platforms with Caesars sportsbooks. William Hill U.S. operates Caesars sportsbooks and will become the exclusive odds provider and co-exclusive sportsbook provider to ESPN.
The agreement comes a week after ESPN premiered its Las Vegas studio at the Linq resort where it offers betting-centric programming, including The Daily Wager. ESPN’s digital platforms will connect fans to DraftKings’ products and services.
ESPN Vice President Mike Morrison said the partnerships bring together the network and “two of the top brands and best products” in the sports betting sphere.
“With Caesars utilizing odds from William Hill’s sports betting data, we are able to deliver content in new and innovative way,” Morrison said.
Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said the accord connects Caesars with more than 95 million users of ESPN’s digital channels. ESPN’s following is about 45 percent larger than Barstool and a partnership with the network comes across at important “given the importance of monetizing the value of the Caesars brand, its large Total Rewards database, and its other sports-related assets,” Santarelli said.
ESPN Senior Vice President Mark Walker said legalized sports betting is critical to the experience of sports fans. The agreement with DraftKings, he said, “means greater opportunities to innovate and deliver the best and most seamless experience for fans, which will ultimately expand ESPN’s brand and audience and increase engagement.”
Since becoming Caesars Entertainment’s exclusive sports betting partner a month ago, William Hill has opened 12 branded sportsbooks at Caesars’ properties in Nevada, Iowa, and most recently, New Jersey. The mobile sports betting app, Caesars Sports Book by William Hill, anticipates opening in Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Nevada pending regulatory approvals.
“Tens of millions of fans will now have a direct link to our sports betting apps and odds,” said Ulrik Bengtsson, group CEO of William Hill. “Giving ESPN users this access will accelerate our leadership, as we continue to expand in the U.S.”
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said William Hill added “immediate value” to Caesars properties nationally and the agreement with ESPN completed “what is sure to be a momentous partnership in gaming and sports wagering.”