Posted on: November 29, 2023, 10:39h.
Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 10:39h.
ESPN Bet and theScore are the newest “Official Sports Betting Partners” of the National Hockey League (NHL).
In a statement provided today to Casino.org, the NHL announced that Penn Entertainment’s ESPN Bet and theScore are the professional hockey league’s newest partners. The pacts provide the sports betting firms with intellectual property rights, plus media and marketing integrations across NHL programming.
ESPN Bet went live on Nov. 14 in 17 states. The sportsbook is Penn Entertainment’s rebranded Barstool Sportsbook product after the Pennsylvania-based casino operator agreed to give $1.5 billion over 10 years to ESPN to use the sports media brand in its sports betting business.
There’s definite excitement in being one of the first leagues to partner with ESPN Bet,” said Jason Jazayeri, the NHL’s vice president of business development.
“From day one, we’ve said our media rights deal with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company has been a big win for our fans and our league, and this new collaboration is further testament to the value of our partnership,” Jazayeri continued. “The NHL is younger, faster, and more exciting than ever, and delivers a tremendous opportunity for fan engagement and responsible gaming experiences.”
ESPN Bet’s NHL partnership is for US operations, while theScore deal is for use in Ontario.
ESPN Bet and theScore join DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM as Official Sports Betting Partners of the NHL.
Penn is amid a marketing blitz of its ESPN Bet sportsbook in an effort to poach some market share away from the industry leaders. DraftKings and FanDuel account for about 75% of the sports betting market in the US.
A slew of other notable sportsbooks are seeking to lessen their stronghold, including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and Fanatics. ESPN Bet got off to a strong start, as its app was downloaded 1.1 million times during its first week — record download activity for any US sports betting platform.
Though betting on hockey pales in comparison to football, basketball, and baseball, Penn officials say the NHL deal will allow ESPN Bet and theScore to reach more sports bettors.
“Becoming an official partner allows us to more broadly engage hockey fans, develop compelling integrations, and uniquely leverage NHL programming. This is also a key partnership for theScore Bet in Ontario, where the popularity of hockey is unmatched,” said Aubrey Levy, Penn Interactive’s senior vice president of marketing and content.
ESPN Bet Criticism
Early bettors on ESPN Bet have criticized the sportsbook for not honoring pushes in parlays. A bettor named Kelce Johnson shared his five-leg parlay this week on X showing that ESPN Bet voided his bet after one of his five bets pushed while the four others won.
Most sportsbooks recalculate parlay odds when a single bet pushes and the others win and pay out that amount. But ESPN Bet is apparently voiding the entire bet.
Johnson’s tweet has garnered more than 3.5 million views since it was posted on Nov. 26. ESPN Bet’s X account asked Johnson to contact its support desk for further information, but the sportsbook’s fine print states that a single push renders the parlay null of action.
— Kelce Johnson, 2022 (@CalculatorGrant) November 27, 2023