Caesars, DraftKings Reach Landmark Deals With ESPN, Sportsbook Ads to Run on App, Website

Posted on: September 14, 2020, 10:18h. 

Last updated on: September 14, 2020, 11:03h.

Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) and DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) each announced separate multi-year agreements with ESPN, providing for deep integration across the sports network’s digital platforms.

ESPN Caesars
The bar at the Caesars Palace sportsbook. ESPN is expanding betting deals with Caesars and DraftKings in a big way. (Image: ESPN)

Under the terms of the pacts, the two gaming companies will be able to run advertising on, the most-visited sports website in the world, and on the ESPN mobile application. Both link directly to their respective sportsbooks, marking the first time in US history such a deal has been reached.

As part of the new agreements, ESPN expands its relationships with both Caesars, as the exclusive odds provider and co-exclusive sportsbook link-out provider, and DraftKings, as the exclusive daily fantasy sports provider and co-exclusive sportsbook link-out provider,” according to the network.

The news caps a busy period for the Caesars/ESPN relationship. Last week, the Daily Wager betting show began broadcasting from inside a studio at LINQ Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Caesars controls that gaming venue.

All sportsbooks relevant to the agreements will be geo-targeted, meaning visitors to and the app in states where sports wagering is legal will be able to access the books, while those in other states will be left out.

Disney Deepens Sports Betting Ties

ESPN, one of the most profitable units of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), has long had flirtations with sports wagering, and those have grown following the 2018 Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

With sports betting now live and legal in 18 states and Washington, DC, with more to follow, Disney sees opportunity to leverage ESPN’s perch as the dominant sports broadcaster to better connect with gamblers. It’s a sensible move, because studies prove fans invested in the outcome of a particular game are more likely to watch that competition on television than those that don’t have action on the contest.

“Under the new DraftKings deal, DraftKings will also become ESPN’s exclusive daily fantasy sports and co-exclusive sportsbook link-out provider,” according to ESPN and DraftKings. “Additionally, DraftKings will power integrations across all ESPN content, beginning with daily fantasy sports segments on ESPN’s premier studio shows.”

As of May, Disney owned six percent of DraftKings non-voting equity, which the entertainment conglomerate got via its 2019 $71.3 billion takeover of 21st Century Fox.

Win for William Hill

News of the broader Caesars/ESPN relationship is another boon for William Hill, which is rapidly expanding in the US due in large part to the new iteration of Caesars Entertainment.

As part of the ESPN arrangement, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill becomes a sponsor of the network’s fantasy products, while the links to the bookmaker’s offering will appear on, the related mobile app, and on the broadcaster’s fantasy sports app.

Through Eldorado Resorts’ $17.3 billion takeover of Caesars, William Hill is now the latter’s exclusive sports betting partner. It recently opening a dozen branded sportsbooks in Iowa, Nevada, and New Jersey with more to follow.

The Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill app will soon launch in Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, according to the UK-based company.