- Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed plans to take major steps into sports betting with ESPN at the Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference.
- There have been rumors surrounding a potential ESPN sportsbook for some time.
- FOX Bet and SI Sportsbook are two sportsbooks run by sports media giants and serving as examples for ESPN.
NEW YORK – During the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference, Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly expressed interest in heading into sports betting with ESPN.
ESPN has seen many rumors surrounding its sports betting involvement with a potential sportsbook in the works. There are also options for ESPN to partner with sportsbooks without making one of their own.
Chapek was clear that both options were possibilities, explaining that as their fans are excited about sports betting and ESPN will be taking “major steps” in that direction.
ESPN And Sports Betting
ESPN already has begun to embrace sports betting. Odds are mentioned during popular programs like First Take and Get Up, and ESPN has its own sports betting centric show in Daily Wager.
It was reported last month that ESPN was in talks with DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment for a potential deal worth $3 billion. This deal would see ESPN license its brand to these sportsbooks.
This was brought up to Chapek during the conference as he spoke on ESPN’s future in the sports betting world.
“There’s a long way between embedded into the ESPN business model and licensing the name out,” said Chapek. “Let’s just say our fans are really interested in sports betting. Let’s say our partners in the leagues are interested in sports betting, so we’re interested in sports betting. Strategically, sports betting gives us the ability to appeal to a much younger sports fan who has a very strong affinity for those sports. So it’s definitely a place we want to be.”
Sports betting and media have begun to blend seamlessly as betting continues to gain popularity in the US gambling market. ESPN has a few examples to pull from if they indeed decide to launch a regulated sportsbook of their own.
Other Media Giants With Sports Betting
Most notably, ESPN rival Fox has released FOX Bet, a popular sportsbook that is now active in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Colorado.
Sports Illustrated launched its SI Sportsbook in Colorado earlier this month and has begun seeing some success as well.
Barstool Sports launched its sportsbook through Penn National and it is one of the top sportsbooks in several markets including New Jersey and Illinois.
ESPN is a bigger brand in the sports world than all of these companies that have ventured into sports betting, so should they ever launch a sportsbook, it could become a major game-changer and quite possibly the biggest one of its kind.