ESPN has gone big on sports betting, with new deals with DraftKings and Caesars — and Caesars’ new face of sports betting, William Hill.
Caesars/Hill is now the exclusive odds provider for ESPN. Meanwhile, DraftKings is now the exclusive daily fantasy sports provider.
The deal comes shortly after Hill became the exclusive sports betting operator for Caesars Entertainment following Caesars’ merger with Eldorado Resorts. The expanded company trades on NASDAQ as CZR.
Markets like the ESPN news
Caesars’ stock was up over 10%, closing the trading day above $55 a share. William Hill stock ($WIMHY) ended the day up over 9%, trading at around $11.
DraftKings ($DKNG) got an even bigger bounce, a jump of over 15% to more than $48 a share.
All the companies will benefit from sportsbook link integrations across the sports networks’ digital platforms.
Integration across the ESPN brand
For instance, link integrations to Hill’s sports betting apps, geo-targeted to legalized sports betting states, will appear on ESPN.com, mobile and the ESPN Fantasy app.
Mike Morrison, vice president of business development and innovation at ESPN, explained in a press release:
“Our new agreements with Caesars and DraftKings collectively represent the next significant milestone for ESPN to diversify our exposure and deepen our commitment in the sports betting space. We began growing the experience through content, followed by odds utilizing William Hill’s sports betting data and a new state-of-the-art studio facility in Las Vegas through our deal with Caesars, and now with the addition of DraftKings, we are bringing together the sports media leader with two of the top brands and best products in the segment.”
The news follows an expanded content collaboration between ESPN and Caesars and the recent launch of ESPN’s Las Vegas studio at The LINQ Hotel + Experience.
Ulrik Bengtsson, group chief executive officer of William Hill, said:
“ESPN is one of the preeminent brands in sports. Tens of millions of fans will now have a direct link to our sports betting apps and odds. Giving ESPN users this access will accelerate our leadership as we continue to expand in the US.”
“As our exclusive sports betting operator, William Hill has added immediate value to Caesars Entertainment’s portfolio of properties nationally,” said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, Inc., calling it a “momentous partnership.”
Jason Robins, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of DraftKings, said, “ESPN’s reach amongst sports fans is unparalleled.”
Caesars Sportsbook to transition to William Hill in PA
Since becoming Caesars’ partner a month ago, Hill has opened 12 branded sportsbooks. They are at Caesars’ properties in Nevada, Iowa and most recently, New Jersey. If approved, the remaining sportsbooks across the Caesars portfolio will take on the William Hill name in the coming weeks.
The mobile sports betting app Caesars Sportsbook already operates in Pennsylvania. The transition to William Hill is underway in PA as well as New Jersey, Indiana and Nevada pending regulatory approvals. Once completed, Hill will operate in more than 170 retail locations across 13 states.