ESPN is launching ESPN BET, a branded sportsbook for fans in the United States, after striking a deal with PENN Entertainment. This effectively marks ESPN’s entry into the sports betting space.
According to the details, the existing PENN Entertainment sportsbook (Barstool Sportsbook) will be rebranded and relaunched as the new ESPN BET sportsbook later this year, and will be available in the 16 legalized betting states where PENN Entertainment is licensed.
The relaunch will also result in the rebranding of the mobile app, website, and mobile website to ESPN BET. According to The Walt Disney Company’s announcement, ESPN BET will become ESPN’s exclusive sportsbook. The deal will also result in the promotion of ESPN BET across ESPN’s platforms as a way to generate awareness.
“Our primary focus is always to serve sports fans and we know they want both betting content and the ability to place bets with less friction from within our products,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN. “The strategy here is simple: to give fans what they’ve been requesting and expecting from ESPN. PENN Entertainment is the perfect partner to build an unmatched user experience for sports betting with ESPN BET.”
While ESPN is a very well known sports brand, this is still a major move. With ESPN being owned by Disney, it is understood that there had been some reservations over how an ESPN-branded sports-betting service could be viewed through a wider Disney lens.
In its own announcement, PENN Entertainment confirmed that it had now sold Barstool Sports back to David Portnoy, the original founder of Barstool Sports.
PENN also confirmed that the agreement with ESPN is a 10-year deal, at a cash cost of $1.5 billion which is to be paid over those ten years.