ESPN and PENN Entertainment have announced an agreement to launch a branded sportsbook, ESPN BET. ESPN has increased its integration of odds into their programming over the past few years, but this represents a huge commitment from the company towards becoming an industry leader in sports betting.
When Will ESPN BET Launch?
ESPN BET is expected to launch this fall. PENN Entertainment will be re-branding and re-launching its current sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook, as ESPN BET. The newly launched sportsbook will be available in the 16 states where PENN Entertainment is already licensed.
“Our primary focus is always to serve sports fans and we know they want both betting content and the ability to place bets with less friction from within our products,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN, per the company’s announcement.
“The strategy here is simple: To give fans what they’ve been requesting and expecting from ESPN. PENN Entertainment is the perfect partner to build an unmatched user experience for sports betting with ESPN BET.”
Jay Snowden, CEO and President of PENN Entertainment, said, “This agreement with ESPN and collaboration on ESPN BET allows us to take another step forward as an industry leader. Together, we can utilize each other’s strengths to create the type of experience that existing and new bettors will expect from both companies, and we can’t wait to get started.”
What Will Happen to Barstool Sports?
Soon after the news of the agreement between ESPN and PENN Entertainment broke, Dave Portnoy, President of Barstool Sports, made an announcement about the future of the media company. Portnoy announced that he purchased Barstool Sports back from PENN, regaining full ownership of the company.
In 2020, PENN Entertainment purchased a 36% stake in Barstool Sports and, in partnership, launched Barstool Sportsbook later that year. In February 2023, Penn bought the remaining portion of Barstool Sports, becoming the sole shareholder of the company.
Now, this will be the first time Portnoy has complete ownership in the company since selling a stake to The Chernin Group in 2016. Portnoy founded Barstool Sports in 2003 out of Milton, Massachusetts.