5/14 Forever: How Popular Sports Media Brands are Dealing with Legalized Online Sports Betting

Over the past year or so, you’ve probably noticed that mainstream sports outlets are no longer ignoring betting as they once did. 

Coinciding with legalization in states across the country, sports betting content and advertisements have become commonplace across popular sports media channels. 

But how has sports media adapted when it comes to taking advantage of direct partnerships and deals with the power players in the burgeoning sports betting industry? 

Dimers.com contributor Michael Krumholtz takes a deeper look.


Some have established exclusive partnerships with betting companies. Fox Sports, for example, has partnered with Flutter (formerly Stars Group) to run its own betting site called Fox Bet.

Others, like ESPN, have been slower to react. 

Let’s get a full rundown of where some popular sports media platforms stand when it comes to branding or financial partnerships with betting companies and how they are interacting with the industry.


Surprisingly, the Worldwide Leader in Sports has yet to make an exclusive deal with any sportsbooks to license its name to a betting operation. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been trying. According to the Wall Street Journal, ESPN was looking to give out its name to sportsbooks for $3 billion over a few years.

As an alternative to not lending their brand name elsewhere, ESPN brass has been discussing the possibility of housing their own sportsbook.

Still, ESPN would likely look to a partnership with an established betting brand that could help quickly roll out a ready-to-go infrastructure and technology.

Though there is not yet a sportsbook in ESPN’s name, they have signed deals with both FanDuel and Caesars. Thanks to the latter deal, ESPN now has its own studio in Caesars’ The Linq in Las Vegas.

Fox Sports

One major sports network that wasted no time attaching its name to a sportsbook was Fox. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch recently said the platform, FoxBet, has garnered 6.5 million users since its launch in 2019.

However, there have been plenty of bumps in the road. Fox is currently in arbitration with Flutter — which also owns FanDuel. Murdoch has said this should be resolved by the summer to be able to increase FoxBet’s offering to more U.S. states. Currently, Fox Bet is only available in four states – Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Targeting casual bettors, the tool is noted for its free-to-play app – Fox Super 6 – which is available nationwide and has had more than 150 million entrants.  

Barstool Sports

The original disruptors of the sports media scene have, of course, been very active when it comes to their own sportsbook and sports betting content. The Barstool Sportsbook is available online in a dozen states so far, and many of these states have in-person casinos where bettors can place their wagers as well. 

Barstool is well suited to blend its wide-reaching multimedia content with its sportsbook thanks to its lucrative partnership with Penn National Gaming, which has a large stake in Barstool and hosts the sportsbook platform. With its popular podcasts, blogs and videos that often focus on betting, it should provide a steady stream of players into the sportsbook.

That seems to be the case so far, as Barstool Sportsbook handled $775 million in bets in 2021 and took in over $85 million in profits.

NBC Sports

In 2020, NBC Sports got into the betting game when it began a partnership with PointsBet, making the Australian sportsbook the exclusive provider of odds for sports content across NBC Sports’ wide variety of channels.

The $500 million deal also gives NBC Sports an equity stake in PointsBet with the option to buy more in the coming years. PointsBet is currently available in 10 states and it certainly seems this partnership with NBC has been a boon to the foreign sportsbook’s marketing on U.S. soil. PointsBet recently reported a handle of $577 million in the year’s first quarter in the U.S., which was up 37% from the prior one.

CBS Sports

CBS Sports made a move in 2020 to secure an exclusive partnership with Caesars. Similar to that partnership between NBC Sports and PointsBet, this one makes it so that Caesars’ odds are offered across CBS Sports channels and content.

The partnership has emphasized using betting tools and terms on everyday sports content so that casual consumers will be more comfortable and willing to place bets with Caesars Sportsbook.

Caesars, owned by William Hill US, has been busy in the early goings of legalization. It is an official oddsmaking partner of the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and ESPN.

PointsBet has a tasty 5x $100 Risk-Free Bets offer for new customers. Better yet, they don't require you to roll over any winnings from bonus bets before being able to withdraw.


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