Accelerating efforts to more closely align with sports wagering, ESPN has struck a $2 billion branding agreement with casino operator Penn Entertainment to launch ESPN Bet, a sportsbook.
Penn will pay ESPN $1.5 billion in cash over the 10-year term, with another $500 million in warrants “in exchange for media, marketing services, brand and other rights provided by ESPN.”
The new branded sportsbook will replace Penn’s Barstool Sportsbook. The ESPN-Penn deal has an option to be extended for another 10-year period.
ESPN programming will promote the service, which will include participation of ESPN on-air talent. ESPN will also get a seat on the Penn board of directors after three years.
The branding deal, which starts up this fall in the 16 legalized betting states where Penn Entertainment is licensed, includes affixing the ESPN Bet name to a mobile app, website, and mobile website platforms.
Penn Entertainment has 43 wagering properties in 20 states.
Big sports wagering leaders FanDuel and DraftKings each have had a close association with ESPN, heavily buying TV advertising time on the network group
In recent years, ESPN has added much sports betting content to its linear TV programming, digital programming, radio, and editorial coverage.