ESPN is showing its hand for sports betting content, expanding its coverage with a move to The LINQ Hotel + Experience on the Las Vegas strip.
ESPN and Caesars Entertainment made the joint announcement Monday, with the LINQ Studio set to host production immediately for segments on ESPN’s flagship show “SportsCenter” and other digital platforms. The network is also moving its sports betting-themed show “Daily Wager,” which has been on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the LINQ Studio and re-launching Sept. 8.
“In our ongoing mission to serve sports fans, we are committing to a bigger presence both in Las Vegas and with our content across platforms to authentically serve a fast-growing, highly engaged audience,” said Mike Morrison, VP of business development, ESPN in a statement. “We are incredibly fortunate to work alongside a great partner like Caesars Entertainment to achieve this and look forward to collaborating on more opportunities in the future.”
“The debut of the all-new ESPN studio at The LINQ Hotel + Experience is a testament both to Las Vegas’ position as the sports betting capital of the world and its transformation into a sports city,” added Chris Holdren, Caesars Entertainment Inc. co-president of Caesars Sports. “With the marquee location of the studio right at the heart of the Strip, we’re excited to see the unique programming that could only be produced here in Las Vegas.”
ESPN has leaned into sports betting content in recent years, most notably through the popular “Bad Beats” segments on “SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt.” It also allowed announcers to discuss betting lines during XFL telecasts during the football league’s short-lived 2020 season.
Live from The LINQ
Today, ESPN & @CaesarsEnt debut new Las Vegas studio
LINQ Hotel + Experience to be sports betting content epicenter
'Daily Wager' returns from @TheLINQ studio Tuesday, Sept. 8
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) August 24, 2020
“Daily Wager,” which is hosted by sports betting industry veteran Doug Kezirian, will be the flagship show for ESPN’s content in Las Vegas. The show celebrated its first anniversary in March and will return to its customary spot of 6 p.m. ET weeknights on ESPN2.
The network plans to launch a digital show originating at The LINQ Studio that will be available across multiple social media platforms. There will be new episodes available three days per week through ESPN+, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. ESPN had previously announced veteran host Mike Greenberg will have a show called “Bettor Days” on ESPN+ that is slated to debut Sept. 3.
“The appetite for sports betting content continues to grow among fans,” said Connor Schell, EVP of content, ESPN. “Our new studio will not only operate as the headquarters for that content, but it will also anchor our year-round presence in Las Vegas – a city that has become a destination for the biggest events in sports.
“The LINQ studio allows us to meaningfully cover the lineup of major events on the horizon with our league partners like UFC and Top Rank, the NFL regular season with the Las Vegas Raiders – beginning with the Monday Night Football home opener on Sept. 21 – the Las Vegas Bowl, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, NBA Summer League, and the rescheduled NFL Draft in 2022.”
The high-end LINQ Studio
The LINQ Hotel + Experience has constructed a high-end broadcasting venue ESPN will utilize. The 6,000-square-foot facility has three studios and 12 cameras, including a pair of robotic exterior cameras. It will be ESPN’s first facility to fully support native 4K and broadcast in 1080p. It will also serve as a studio locale for major sports events in Las Vegas, which will welcome its second major professional sports team as the Raiders begin play next month.