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ESPN/Sports Betting Marriage Takes Another Step

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ESPN/Sports Betting Marriage Takes Another Step
Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN/AFP

The mainstreaming of the US legal sports betting industry has been developing at an incredible rate since the Supreme Court overturned its blanket ban on the platform in 2018. In the latest move that “normalizes” sports betting, Worldwide Sports Leader, ESPN is ready to bring to market two gambling-focused productions from their new Las Vegas studio.

Over the weekend, ESPN delivered the news that it was ready go live with a new digital sports betting show “Bet” which aired for the first time last night at 5:30 PM Eastern, ahead of the first Monday Night Football broadcast. It is scheduled to be streamed across ESPN’s digital platforms three times per week. It also announced the creation of a dedicated sports betting YouTube channel that will cater to the throngs of active bettors that rely on ESPN to better educate themselves prior to throwing down a wager.

Media release from ESPN:

“On the heels of the opening of its new studio on the Las Vegas Strip and the return of its sports betting television program Daily Wager, ESPN is expanding its sports betting footprint with Monday’s debut of Bet, a new half-hour program that will stream three nights per week on digital platforms.

Also on Monday, ESPN is launching a YouTube channel dedicated to sports betting content.

Bet, co-hosted by Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum, will originate from ESPN’s just-opened studio at The LINQ Hotel + Experience and will be available for live and on-demand viewing on the ESPN App and on ESPN’s social media feeds on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.”

Content

The two new ESPN sports betting offerings will feature clips and segments from gambling-related content from their network throughout the week in order to fill the timeslots that they have committed too.

ESPN has been slowly moving to more bet-centric content as of late and aims to build on that with the new shows that they are creating. Betting odds, trends, player news and profiles and team statistics will be discussed in detail to better inform and educate bettors on upcoming games and matches.

“Bet will allow us to connect with fans and drive the conversation in a way that leverages what we do best on social and digital platforms,” said Mike Foss, Senior Director, Digital & Social Video, Social Content, ESPN.

“We have seen tremendous success and growth in our slate of digital shows in 2020. Bet will showcase an amazing new studio in The LINQ and we are tremendously excited about delivering a new live and interactive show core to our audience expansion priority.”

It Ain’t ESPN’s First Sports Betting Rodeo

Quietly, ESPN had already been building up their sports betting content over the years. Not only has gambling and the gambling industry been covered on ESPN for the last 10 years but ESPN2 has been broadcasting Daily Wager, a sports betting news and information program for some time.

The “Behind the Bets with Doug Kezirian” podcast has been airing from Las Vegas, Sports Center’s Scott Van Pelt has been airing a segment called “Bad Beats”, ESPN+ has featured “Bettor Days with Mike Greenburg” and the Stanford Steve and The Bear podcast goes live on ESPN digital outlets during Football Season.

What It All Means

Taking steps to bring sports betting content into peoples’ homes under the ESPN banner is a big development not only for the media outlet, but also for the legal sports betting industry. ESPN gives immediate credibility to a platform that has traditionally struggled with its image.

ESPN’s acceptance and willingness to not only back, but take advantage of the legal sports betting industry in the US shows just how seriously the network is taking the emergence of the gambling platform.

Not that the sports betting industry needed anything else to legitimize its presence in everyday society, but ESPN is a nice addition to the overall support that sports betting has received not only among the public but also media outlets and lawmakers in the last few years.