Under the arrangement, ESPN Bet becomes an NHL partner in the US. Penn also agreed for theScore Bet to partner with the NHL in Ontario, Canada.
Penn said the deal comes into effect immediately. It covers the NHL regular season, Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2024 NHL Winter Classic, 2024 NHL Stadium Series, and 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend.
The agreement will grant ESPN Bet and theScore Bet access to a host of entitlements. These include IP rights and media and marketing integrations across the NHL’s programming and premium NHL experiences. In addition, the partnership includes collaboration for game integrity procedures.
Major partnership for newcomer ESPN Bet
ESPN Bet, a product of Penn’s partnership with Disney-owned ESPN, is among the latest brands to launch in the US. It went live across 17 states on 14 November.
In essence, it is a rebranding of existing sports betting app, Barstool Sportsbook. In August, Penn said it sold Barstool Sports back to its founder Dave Portnoy for $1.
“There’s definite excitement in being one of the first leagues to partner with ESPN Bet and Penn,” NHL vice-president of business development, Jason Jazayeri, said. “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.
“The NHL is younger, faster and more exciting than ever. It delivers tremendous opportunity for fan engagement and responsible gaming experiences. We’re looking forward to working with ESPN Bet and theScore Bet to engage our passionate fan base.”
Broader engagement among NHL fans
Penn Interactive’s senior vice-president for marketing and content, Aubrey Levy, also spoke highly of the new deal.
“The recent launch of ESPN Bet in the US is extremely exciting,” Levy said. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with the NHL to help market our new sports betting experience.
“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.”
Heavy support for ESPN Bet launch
The partnership adds further fuel to the ESPN Bet fire that is already burning strong.
Upon launching the brand, an initial wave of integrations targeting an estimated audience of 200 million was announced. The ESPN Bet launch also saw an advertising campaign headlined by SportsCenter anchors Scott van Pelt and Elle Duncan.
ESPN is the largest sports media brand in the US, with over 105 million monthly unique digital visitors. It also has a strong social media presence with 370 million fans while 25 million subscribe to its ESPN+ streaming service.
Penn and ESPN have also developed a set of content guidelines for ESPN Bet. These will apply to marketing across social media.
In becoming ESPN’s exclusive sportsbook, this effectively ends ESPN’s existing partnerships with the likes of DraftKings and Caesars. Both brands were previously mooted as potential sportsbook partners for the broadcaster.