ESPN Bet to launch in November

Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn Entertainment, confirmed that ESPN Bet will go live in November this year.

Penn and sports broadcaster ESPN’s transformative $1.5bn deal will consist of Penn relaunching its existing Barstool Sportsbook as ESPN Bet.

Off the back of the deal Penn is divesting its Barstool Sports sportsbook brand and selling it back to Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool.

Snowden confirmed the month for launch on Penn’s earnings call today, following the publication of its second quarter results.

When the deal was announced yesterday, Penn said the launch had been set for “the fall”, with no specific details as to when.

On the earnings call, Snowden skipped around the month with “sometime this fall” and “certainly before Thanksgiving” before landing on November.

Snowden defended the timing of the launch amid claims it would come too late in the NFL season.

“I think our launch in November is good, because it won’t get lost at the beginning of football season,” he said. “We’re going to be mid-season.

“We feel like the launch timeline is really good in this space.”

Barstool vs ESPN

Snowden highlighted the differences between its former betting brand Barstool and ESPN, arguing the Disney-owned broadcaster’s profile speaks for itself.

“Barstool skews to the younger side,” he explained. “With ESPN, you’re talking about a brand everyone in the world knows about. Its not a young brand, it’s an everything brand. We think it will be extremely complementary.”

He added that the opportunities for integration with ESPN form a central part of the deal.

“We are particularly excited by the level of integration in ESPN Bet,” he said. “With over 25 million ESPN+ subscribers, ESPN has an unparalleled reach in the world of sports.”

“We look forward to getting exclusive promotional services.”

Bolstering the digital database

Snowden credited Barstool for growing Penn’s digital database, predicting ESPN partnership will only accelerate this growth.

“They [Barstool] were the ideal partners for allowing us to launch in 16 jurisdictions in the US. Barstool helped us grow our digital database by 1.5 million people. Our relationship with ESPN will help us build on this.

“[For] brand recognition for sports fans, there is no brand more powerful in this space than ESPN.”

Snowden bullish on market share

Penn’s CEO is particularly confident about ESPN Bet’s growth prospects, setting a target of 20% US market share. Based on H2 Gambling Capital’s figures for 2022, this would set it just behind second-placed DraftKings in a podium position. “We’re not doing this deal to have 4%, 5% marketing share,” he emphasised.

While the deal with ESPN is certainly monumental, Snowden says there is more to come for Penn’s Interactive division.

“We will continue to make strategic investments in Interactive,” he said, adding Penn will continue to build on its “best in class technology”.

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