In a major sports betting move, ESPN has cut a $2 billion deal with casino owner Penn Entertainment to launch ESPN Bet, a branded sportsbook. ESPN Bet will launch this fall in the 16 states where Penn has sports betting licenses. It will replace the Barstool Sportsbook.In connection with the deal, Penn will sell Barstool Sports, which it acquired in 2020, back to Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, and there is a noncompete clause among other restrictive covenants.
First it was Turner Sports, then Fox Sports and now it’s ESPN’s turn. Sports media is betting big on sports gambling. ESPN announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with Caesars Entertainment to build a new ESPN-branded studio at its LINQ Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
MGM Resorts International became Major League Baseball’s official gambling partner in the U.S. and Japan, a deal made as the sport tries to ensure more prevalent legal sports betting does not lead to any scandals of the type sparked by illegal wagers in its past.
As legalized sports gambling rolls out across the nation, the people who make sports television are eager to help with a series of shows explicitly about a pursuit that has long been a major — but usually unstated — reason to watch sports TV in the first place.