Caesars and the Disney-owned ESPN on Tuesday announced a new partnership for sports gambling.
The deal calls for a content arrangement, including building a new ESPN-branded studio at Caesars’ LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The studio is expected to be completed sometime in 2020. Caesars will provide odds to ESPN’s sports betting-related content, including the recently created show Daily Wager.
ESPN has previously used odds from the SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
A natural pairing
The partnership continues a long gambling-related relationship between the casino developer and the sports news network, considered by some to be the industry leader for sports content. ESPN has been home to coverage of Caesars’ World Series of Poker in Las Vegas for years. It’s worth noting that a new convention center directly behind the Linq is rumored to soon be the new home of the WSOP, which would give ESPN programming easy access to some of the nation’s most recognizable gamblers during the summer months.
“Caesars’ data and branding will be integrated across ESPN programming within the coming weeks for use across ESPN’s content,” said the Tuesday presser.
“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before,” ESPN VP of Business Development Mike Morrison said in a statement. “We are poised to expand our coverage in a big way and working with a category leader like Caesars Entertainment will help us serve these highly engaged, diverse sports fans with the best and most relevant content possible.”
The new studio on the iconic Las Vegas Strip will “play a vital role during major sporting events, and especially during the growing number of marquee events hosted in Las Vegas,” stated the presser.
By linking with Caesars, ESPN obtains a cozier relationship with the NFL on the gambling front. In November, Caesars inked a 15-year deal with the upcoming Las Vegas Raiders. The multi-billion-dollar football stadium is still under construction. Then in January, Caesars became the NFL’s “casino partner.”
A bolstered NV sports betting industry
The Caesars-ESPN deal was announced on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the federal prohibition on sports betting, allowing states to legalize the activity. Much has been said about New Jersey eventually overtaking Nevada’s handle (the Silver State is at more than $5 billion in annual bets), but the Caesars-ESPN partnership further shows that Las Vegas is still emerging as a major sports tourism hub, one that NJ’s Atlantic City can’t come close to rivaling.
For example, Nevada continues to set new monthly handle records during March Madness, dwarfing action seen in other (albeit much younger) regulated sports wagering markets in the U.S.
NJ does have a larger population, and a thus a higher ceiling for sports betting, but Nevada operators are making moves that continue to cement Sin City as America’s sports gambling hub.
“Between an increased interest in sports betting among fans, regularly hosting marquee sporting events — like the upcoming NFL Draft and NBA Summer League as well as premier UFC and Top Rank bouts — and the arrival of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, Las Vegas has become an epicenter of sports culture,” ESPN EVP of Content Connor Schell said in a statement.
The ESPN deal follows a similar partnership with Caesars and Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report. As part of that deal, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will be home to a Bleacher Report studio.
In other words, the Caesars-ESPN deal isn’t an exclusive one.