ESPN got into sports gaming through a $2 billion, 10-year deal with Penn Entertainment announced in August, calling for Penn to rebrand its Barstool Sports sportsbook to ESPN Bet. The move comes as ESPN deals with dwindling cable subscribers but a growing hunger for sports betting, particularly among younger viewers. Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN chairman, has said sports fans were seeking both betting content and the ability to place bets “with less friction” from within ESPN products.
Since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling allowed states to permit sports gambling, operators have earned $21 billion of revenue on more than $260 billion in bets, according to Legal Sports Report. Sports gambling today is allowed in 35 states and the District of Columbia, with another three states legal but not yet operational, according to the American Gaming Association.
The new branding was developed by ESPN Creative Studio, ESPN’s in-house agency, along with Penn Entertainment.