ESPN is looking to partner with major sports-betting houses and is having discussions to license its brand name in deals that could be worth as much as $3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The Disney-owned sports network has held talks with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings, the Journal reported, citing individuals familiar with the discussions. Reps for ESPN, Caesers and DraftKings did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The way this would work, according to the Journal, is that ESPN would license out its name for a sports betting company to use, either for branding purposes or even rename its sportsbook after them.
ESPN already has marketing partnerships with both Caesers and DraftKings, and any deal would come with an exclusive marketing commitment that would require the sports-betting firm to spend a certain amount of money advertising on ESPN’s platforms, the Journal added.
The network has cautiously waded into the burgeoning sports gambling space, which had for years existed solely in Nevada. A 2018 Supreme Court decision paved the way for more states to legalize sports gambling, which led to more casinos and sportsbooks partnering with leagues, teams and even stadiums.
ESPN has incorporated gambling and betting lines into some of its studio programming and even tried out betting-themed shows. But it has not launched its own sportsbook, which would mean handling payouts to winners and collecting money. Rival Fox Sports has Fox Bet.
Sports betting is on track to generate revenue of about $4 billion in the U.S. in 2021, said Chris Grove, a gambling industry analyst at research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.