ESPN Bet has recently signed a major PGA Tour deal to become the official betting operator for the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina. This exciting announcement comes after ESPN Bet launched in 17 states on November 14 and plans to enter the North Carolina market soon.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission began accepting applications for sports betting licenses in early December, and the state is expected to open for sports betting in the first half of 2024. ESPN Bet’s partnership with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship marks a significant move into the North Carolina market.
According to Benjie Levy, the head of Penn Interactive, the agreement with Quail Hollow Club will enhance fan engagement and player acquisition. “We are thrilled to partner with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship as we prepare to bring our new online sports betting brand, ESPN Bet, to North Carolina,” Levy said in a press release. “We’re excited to sponsor the popular Wells Fargo Championship and look forward to working together with our new partners to create unique fan activations.”
The launch of ESPN Bet is the result of a $1.5 billion deal between Penn Entertainment and Disney-owned ESPN. Penn has secured the rights to the ESPN Bet brand for an initial 10 years, with the option of a decade-long extension. The launch of ESPN Bet follows Penn’s pivot away from Barstool Sportsbook, which was sold back to Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.
North Carolina is expected to be a competitive market for sports betting, with many operators vying for the 12 available licenses. Other major players, such as bet365, BetMGM, and Fanatics, have also made moves in anticipation of the state’s opening for sports betting in 2024. The licensing and vetting process for operators in North Carolina is expected to continue until after the Super Bowl in February.