ESPN Reportedly Exploring Licensing Deal With Sportsbooks

  • ESPN has offered naming rights as well as further partnerships to several sports betting partners.
  • The WSJ reported that ESPN was engaged in talks with Ceasars and DraftKings.
  • These talks reportedly included a potential ESPN sportsbook skin.

BRISTOL, Conn. - In a move that further demonstrates the nearly inextricable link between sports media and sports betting that has been forged since the repeal of PASPA, ESPN has reportedly been in talks with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings regarding a licensing deal.

Both of the companies are already tied to ESPN via previous deals - DraftKings is the official daily fantasy sports provider of ESPN, while Caesars is the official sportsbook odds provider.

What Would This Deal Look Like?

The reported terms of what ESPN is offering include:

  • Use of the ESPN name in advertising
  • A sportsbook skin named after ESPN, in the vein of Barstool Sportsbook
  • Exclusive marketing rights
  • A requirement that the sports betting firm spend money advertising on ESPN

ESPN is reportedly asking for $3 billion for the licensing rights to its name, and that is, no doubt, a steep price.

For some context of the market, Barstool Sports sold a 50% stake of their entire company to Penn National Gaming for $450 million, and ESPN is asking for six times that for a deal that does not come with equity in the company.

The Rise Of Sports Betting

The deal has not been struck yet, and for all any of us know, it could only be Disney, ESPN’s parent company, reaching out to gauge the market. What the deal does represent, however, is just how intertwined sports betting and sports media have become in the few years since the 2018 PASPA repeal.

There are currently 32 states that have regulated sports betting, in addition to Washington, D.C., with more to come.

Sports betting has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of online gambling in the United States, and a deal like this showcases just how big the market has become.