ESPN Sees Opportunity to Tap Into Viewer Thirst for Useful Wager Info

Posted on: September 16, 2020, 05:30h. 

Last updated on: September 16, 2020, 08:16h.

ESPN kicked off a new sport betting YouTube channel this week, as the company tries to capitalize on increasing demand for online content related to the expanding sector.

ESPN Sports Betting
George Solomon, a retired sports editor and University of Maryland professor, says individuals are looking for more information to help them if they decide to make a wager, as sports betting popularity grows. (Image: University of Maryland)

The ESPN YouTube offering includes segments from the Daily Wager and SportsCenter programs. This week, ESPN also launched Bet, a sports betting program streamed on digital platforms.

Last week, the Daily Wager began broadcasting from the LINQ Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. ESPN recently reached agreements with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings.

The initiatives come as most sports fans remain at home because of coronavirus. Many sports arenas and stadiums remain closed to fans to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk.

Obviously, betting on sports is nothing new. What is new is a pandemic keeping people at home, watching sports, and looking for information to help them if they decide to make a wager,” said George Solomon, retired director of the University of Maryland’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, and a former sports editor at The Washington Post, to

“With legalized … sports betting becoming more accepted, betting on sports is more socially acceptable, which is why more sites specializing in the industry seem to be popping up,” added Solomon, who was also the first ombudsman for ESPN.

The US sports betting sector is projected to become a $7 billion to $8 billion market by 2025, according to predictions made at a Morgan Stanley investors summit held last year. Up to 10 additional sports betting operators could enter the competitive business, panelists predicted last November.

Under its new agreement with Disney-owned ESPN, Caesars becomes the exclusive odds provider and a co-exclusive sportsbook link-out provider for the network. Additionally, DraftKings is the network’s exclusive daily fantasy sports provider and another co-exclusive sportsbook link-out provider.

Other companies have launched sites focused on sports betting. For instance, the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) is joining with the betting platform BetMGM to launch Betting Across America, providing betting data and analysis.

VSiN has a studio at the South Point Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It is adding a second studio at the Circa Resort Casino now under construction in downtown Las Vegas.

Sports Betting Lucrative, Adds Viewers

On Monday, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said that increasing the legalization of betting on athletic events promises to be lucrative. He called it “an enormous opportunity.”

I’d liken it to when states outside of Nevada and New Jersey started to legalize riverboat casinos in the ’90s,” Reeg told CNBC. “We think there’s a lot of money to be made here over time, and we’re seeing a lot of interest from non-gaming operators.”

Sports betting can also lead to increased viewership for networks. A 2018 Seton Hall University survey revealed that 70 percent of Americans said they would be more likely to watch a game if they bet on it.

The poll of 741 adults showed that 88 percent of those questioned between the ages of 18 to 29 would be more likely to watch a sports event if they placed a wager on it. That demographic group is among the most sought-after by advertisers and traditionally has been hard to reach, Seton Hall pollsters said.

The path to increased sports betting launched in 2018, when the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The law had made sports betting illegal in many states.

More States Push for Legal Sports Betting

Sports betting is now live and legal in 18 states and in Washington, DC. Also, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington have passed legislation to pave the way for legal betting on athletic events.

Nine other states are considering approving sports betting legislation, often as a way to reduce state budget shortfalls associated with the pandemic. They include Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Vermont.