ESPN Bet, the gaming brand backed by the sports broadcasting giant, is set to launch across 17 US states on 14 November. This announcement was made by Penn Entertainment, the operator of the brand, in its Q3 trading update. ESPN Bet’s launch is the result of a partnership with Disney-owned ESPN, with a value of $1.5 billion. The brand, which replaces Barstool Sports operation, is expected to add up to $1.0 billion to its long-term adjusted EBITDA potential.
The timing of the 14 November launch is strategic, coinciding with the busy sports calendar during Thanksgiving week, including events such as NCAA college football rivalry week and the Super Bowl rematch of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles televised on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
Penn’s CEO and president, Jay Snowden, expects the strategic alliance to expand their digital ecosystem and drive re-engagement with their millions of customers in digital and retail databases, leading to cross-sell opportunities. Penn has betting licenses in 17 states, and aims to capture a 20% share of the US online sports betting market through ESPN Bet.
ESPN, with over 105 million monthly unique digital visitors and a social media presence of over 370 million fans, will be implementing an initial wave of integrations to reach an estimated audience of 200 million across linear and digital platforms. The advertising campaign will be led by SportsCenter anchors Scott van Pelt and Elle Duncan.
In addition to the aforementioned states, ESPN Bet will also launch in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, pending final approvals. The launch date announcement coincides with Penn’s Q3 results, which included a revenue of $196.3m for its interactive gaming segment and a loss of $724.8m caused by the divestiture of Barstool in August.
Overall, the launch of ESPN Bet marks an important milestone in the partnership between Penn Entertainment and ESPN, and is expected to create significant opportunities in the US sports betting market.