ESPN Bet – Disney’s foray into the online gambling scene – is now live in almost twenty states. It launched last week to a relatively positive reception, soaking up around 2% of the US sports betting market. However, that number has been secured by ESPN Bet’s absorption of the Barstool Sportsbook, which has taken on ESPN’s branding as part of the launch. It was recently revealed that ESPN Bet has a lofty goal in mind for the future: to seize 20% of the US sports betting market.
It’s ambitious, that’s for sure. At present, the top dogs – DraftKings and FanDuel – boast a monopoly, controlling around 75% of the country’s market share overall. Behind them, BetMGM, Caesars, and BetRivers have snapped up most of the remaining 25% between them. It’s certainly an admirable target, but ESPN Bet doesn’t want to hang around – it wants to secure 20% of the market by 2027.
Have a Mission in Mind
ESPN is a household name, and that’ll help the growth of the platform for sure. It has been backed by one of the biggest brands in the world in Disney, even if the entertainment-first firm isn’t all that publically attached to the gambling product, for obvious reasons. Following the success of a $2 billion deal with PENN Entertainment, ESPN Bet picked up an easy win, busting into seventeen overnight and getting their foot in the door.
That’s just the ground floor, though. As the US sports betting market expands exponentially, there’s plenty of room for more top-tier operators to challenge the paradigm. For instance, Fanatics is on a spree, dedicated to the mission of becoming a top-shelf betting operator in the country. It is in the midst of an aggressive campaign of late, and it’s paying off.
It must be stressed that the market overall is swelling. In recent news, the New York Gaming Commission confirmed that the state handled more than $2 billion in mobile sports bets in just one month. Following that, Michigan’s regulators confirmed that bettors in the state spent more than half a billion dollars betting on sports in October.
It’s essentially day one, and nobody knows how ESPN will treat the betting product when it comes to giving it airtime. It’s a tricky thing to handle as if it’s promoted incorrectly, ESPN could risk altering its brand in the mainstream. There will be more data made available in the near future indicating how ESPN Bet is performing, but the positive launch is a key indicator that people are immediately adopting the product.
At present, ESPN Bet is available in the following states:
- Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
But who knows what comes next?