ESPN Bet, the new sports betting app from ESPN, has seen a massive surge in downloads since its launch on November 14. According to analysts at JMP Securities, the app was downloaded over 1.1 million times in its first week, setting a new record for sportsbook application downloads.
This strong performance was bolstered by ESPN’s marketing efforts, with the sports network heavily promoting the app on its television programming and social media channels. The app, which is owned and operated by Penn Entertainment, is being integrated into ESPN’s content in exchange for $1.5 billion in brand usage fees.
The app’s success is seen as a crucial opportunity for Penn Entertainment following its decision to fold on its Barstool Sports and Barstool Sportsbook ownership. After selling back Barstool to its founder, Dave Portnoy, for just $1, Penn Entertainment entered into the agreement with ESPN for the rights to use the sports media brand in its sports betting operations.
ESPN Bet is now live in 17 states where the Barstool Sportsbook app was previously licensed. These states include Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The app’s success is also evident in its performance on the Apple App Store, where it was the most downloaded app on the iOS platform last week, outranking popular apps like BigFuture School and Temu: Shop Like a Billionaire. Additionally, ESPN Bet has now also taken over powering the odds on ESPN’s programming and website, replacing Caesars Sportsbook.
Despite this initial success, gaming analysts are keen to see how ESPN Bet will fare against the established sports betting leaders such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, all of whom hold significant market shares. The coming weeks and months will provide a better understanding of ESPN Bet’s ability to compete in the rapidly growing sports betting industry.