ESPN, Disney’s sports network, might cash a big check. ESPN is supposedly negotiating a deal with two sportsbooks to license its brand for sports betting products. The deal is expected to be worth at least $3 billion.
Rumor has it that ESPN held talks with casino operator Caesars, as well as online gambling company DraftKings. ESPN already has marketing partnerships with both companies. But this would be a bit of an upgrade. The deal would (potentially) allow both companies to rename their sportsbook after ESPN and use its branding. In exchange, ESPN wants Caesars and DraftKings to spend lots of money advertising on their network.
The deal isn’t a done deal just yet. However, the deal would likely appease executives who do not want ESPN to be directly involved in gambling transactions, but who do want to capitalize on the sports betting boom. On the other hand, some investors might feel that this is a missed opportunity — ESPN has a reputation for dragging on Disney’s profits, and it could have built its own sportsbook business without the help of third-parties. Alternatively, ESPN even could have acquired a smaller sports betting company.
As millions of sports fans pull away from cable, ESPN has grown its own subscription business. Some of the network’s programming is now directly dedicated to betting and wagers, among other things.