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Betting powerhouse Caesars Entertainment and the leader in sports media, ESPN, have entered into a partnership that will bring a studio to the Las Vegas Strip.
The agreement calls for ESPN to build a studio at the Linq Hotel & Casino where the sports network will produce content for their new “Daily Wager” show that discusses sports betting.
The partnership also calls for Caesars to become the official odds provider to ESPN and the network’s website will soon reflect the company’s data and branding.
Both companies agreed in statements that the partnership was directly related to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports gambling.
“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before,” Mike Morrison, ESPN’s VP of business development said.
“We are poised to expand our coverage in a big way and working with a category leader like Caesars Entertainment will help us serve these highly engaged, diverse sports fans with the best and most relevant content possible.”
With 30 states working on sports betting legislation and another 10 already with legalized wagering, the two companies felt the time was right for a deal.
Last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the partnership would not signal that ESPN was getting into the betting business, unlike Fox, who recently announced a FOX Bet app.
“We’ll provide programming that will, I guess, be designed to enlighten people who are betting on sports, but that’s as far as we would go,” Iger said.
“I think you’ll see more of it integrated in the programming, but we just don’t intend to go into the gambling business.”
The partnership is certainly the first that merges a major media company with a huge betting company.
For Las Vegas, the agreement continues a trend of legitimacy that the city has experienced in the past couple of years.
Not only has the NHL put a franchise in Vegas, the Golden Knights, but the NFL will host the 2020 draft in Sin City in preparation of the Oakland Raiders moving to Nevada in 2021.
For Caesars, the agreement provides further penetration into the sports betting market with the help of a large media company.
“Today’s announcement shows how media will continue to elevate their role into the emerging U.S. sports betting market,” Brendan Bussmann, a casino research partner, said.
“Caesars continues to show that it values partnerships with various media outlets to try and reach today and tomorrow’s sports bettor.”
For the sports network, Caesars has a large base of sports bettors who use the services of websites like ESPN.
“(ESPN) is a very well-known sports brand. That’s the best way to reach a sports customer,” Union Gaming analyst John DeCree said.
“Regulators are rightly focused on the integrity of the bets and making sure operators have reliable platforms to use,” Forman said.
The studio at the Linq is slated to be completed in time for the highly popular betting season in early 2020 that features the NFL playoffs and March Madness basketball tournament.
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