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ESPN BET logo as we look at its new media app that looks to target occasional and female bettors.
ESPN BET had a massive first week following its Nov. 14 launch, smashing previous download records.

PENN Entertainment has been busy converting its Barstool Sportsbook locations into ESPN BET platforms. Amid the transition, there is news that the company has become an official sports betting partner of the NHL. Many fans of the league bet on its action through our best sportsbooks.

The new partnership will cover PENN Entertainment's ESPN BET and theScore Bet brands.

“The recent launch of ESPN Bet in the US is extremely exciting and we’re thrilled to collaborate with the NHL to help market our new sports betting experience,” said Aubrey Levy, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Content, Penn Interactive. “Becoming an official partner allows us to more broadly engage hockey fans, develop compelling integrations and uniquely leverage NHL programming. This is also a key partnership for theScore Bet in Ontario, where the popularity of hockey is unmatched.”

What's the deal?

The PENN Entertainment/NHL deal follows a similar pattern to other partnerships between leagues and sports betting providers.

PENN's ESPN BET and theScore Bet will immediately gain access to all of the NHL's intellectual property. The two sports betting brands can now access NHL-centric products like IP rights and media and marketing strategies. ESPN BET and theScore Bet will also become part of the league's advertising focus during the broadcast of its games.

Season-long NHL events will be covered under the new agreements. They include the NHL regular season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 2024 NHL Winter Classic, the 2024 NHL Stadium Series, and the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend. 

PENN Entertainment needed to make a move to increase exposure in the U.S. market especially. ESPN BET's first official sports betting partnership is a quick and effective way to do that.

“There’s definite excitement in being one of the first leagues to partner with ESPN Bet and Penn Entertainment,” said Jason Jazayeri, NHL Vice President, Business Development. “From day one we’ve said our media rights deal with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company has been a big win for our fans and our league, and this new collaboration is further testament to the value of our partnership. The NHL is younger, faster, and more exciting than ever, and delivers tremendous opportunity for fan engagement and responsible gaming experiences. We’re looking forward to working with ESPN Bet in the U.S. and theScore Bet in Ontario to engage our passionate fan base.”

ESPN BET building its brand

Only active since Nov. 14, 2023, ESPN BET has been on a blitz to get its name out there in the U.S. legal sports betting market. The company faces steep, established competition for a reasonable market share from the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. All three currently have a similar official sports betting partnership with the NHL.

ESPN BET is live in 17 U.S. states, and theScore Bet is one of the most popular Ontario sports betting apps. ESPN  has over 105 million monthly unique digital visitors, an estimated 370 million social media followers, and 25+ million subscribers to the ESPN+ streaming service.

ESPN BET has been a popular app download since going live. During its first week of service, the sports betting app reported 1.1 million downloads, almost doubling the previous record for first-week download total for a sportsbook in the American market.

Expect to hear more moves by PENN Entertainment — and its ESPN BET and theScore Bet — brands going forward. ESPN BET has some catching up to do. Still, with PENN in its corner and everyone seemingly wanting to be associated with the Worldwide Leader in Sports, there is nothing but optimism that PENN will realize its lofty goals of becoming one of the top sports betting providers on American soil.