PENN has now teamed up with ESPN to form ESPN Bet, and Arizonans will see some changes to their Barstool Sportsbook app likely before Thanksgiving 2023.
What Happened Between Penn Entertainment and Barstool Sports?
Penn Entertainment sold Barstool Sports back to its founder, Dave Portnoy, for $1 plus 50% of any proceeds from any future sale of the company or any new partnerships. Barstool will now leave the sports betting business and focus on its media empire.
Penn Entertainment then made a deal with ESPN to rebrand the Barstool Sportsbook, now called ESPN Bet. That deal was worth $150 million annually for 10 years and will pay ESPN nearly $2 billion for their name recognition.
What Does This Mean for Arizona Sports Bettors?
Despite all that you’ve likely heard and read, the answer is this deal between Penn Entertainment means nothing to the individual Arizona sports betting fan.
Penn Entertainment operates the Barstool Sportsbook and will continue to do so under ESPN Bet. The same account Arizonans opened at Barstool Sportsbook will be the same account when the rebranding of ESPN Bet takes place right before Thanksgiving.
Penn Entertainment is still accepting wagers under the Barstool Sportsbook brand in Arizona. It will continue doing so as if nothing happened other than what is, and that is a company that decidedBarstool Sports wasn’t the marketing bonanza they thought it would be and found a larger brand to partner with, and that brand is ESPN.
What Does This Move Mean to Penn Entertainment?
Barstool Sportsbook had a 3.6% market share in Arizona and had difficulty competing against the big boys FanDuel and DraftKings. Its partnership with Barstool was supposed to make a difference, but it didn’t, and Penn cut ties with Barstool at a huge expense to Penn while Portnoy and Barstool made out like bandits.
Unlike the frat-boy following of Barstool Sports, ESPN reaches across all age groups and spectrums. ESPN is the worldwide leader for sports information, and its brand should give Penn Entertainment a chance to compete with the state’s top bookmakers.
What Does This Move Mean to ESPN?
Firstly, the “worldwide leader” essentially made nearly $2 billion for their name recognition. ESPN may have wanted this type of partnership for years, but ESPN is not a bookmaker, and they won’t be operating the day-to-day sports betting company. That responsibility is in the hands of the same people operating the Barstool Sportsbook now, and that’s Penn Entertainment.
ESPN Bet is essentially Barstool Sportsbook, only with a different name. Nothing will change regarding betting account security, as only the name on the door has changed. Arizona sports bettors can still place bets as Penn Entertainment is still accepting wagers under the Barstool brand, but that brand will change sometime before Thanksgiving to ESPN Bet.
For more news and updates around sportsbooks in Arizona, make sure you check us out here at Betting AZ.