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ESPN In Talks For $3 Billion Sports Betting Deal

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, ESPN has already held talks with operators like the online gambling company DraftKings and casino operator Caesars Entertainment, among others. ESPN already has marketing partnerships with both those companies, but these negotiations are aimed at licensing the ESPN brand to the sports betting operations.

The difference is that the winning bidder or bidders would be able to use the ESPN name and logos for branding purposes, and perhaps even to rename its sports book after what is currently the leading sports TV network in North America.

In return, according to WSJ sources, the winning sports betting company would spend an as yet undetermined amount of money advertising on ESPN’s various platforms, amounting to more than $3 billion over a multiyear agreement.

While ESPN has carried some sports betting programming on its network, it has never lent its name and brand to sports betting operations, so this would be a major policy change for the Disney-owned broadcaster and streamer. However, the temptation to do so is obviously there, given the rapid increase in sports betting revenue after a key court decision in 2018.

That ruling from the US Supreme Court allowed states other than Nevada to legalize sports betting, which has helped fuel an estimated $4 billion in annual revenue as of 2021.

Sport and Movie Licensing on Life Support in the Year of COVID-19