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Posted on: November 26, 2023, 01:42h. 

Last updated on: November 26, 2023, 01:42h.

ESPN Bet debuted at various times in 17 states on Nov. 14. The mobile sportsbook experienced much interest from bettors, as gaming analysts project that the sports betting app was downloaded more than one million times during its first week in existence.

ESPN Bet sportsbook app downloads
ESPN is promoting the ESPN Bet mobile sportsbook during its television programming. ESPN Bet was downloaded 1.1 million times during its first week in existence. (Image: ESPN)

Analysts with JMP Securities in the company’s equity research division report that ESPN Bet downloads numbered over 1.1 million between Nov. 14 through Nov. 20.

The rollout easily set a new record for most sportsbook application downloads in a product’s first week, as the previous best mark was approximately 468,000 downloads for FanDuel during last year’s Super Bowl. The NFL title game on Feb. 13, 2022, coincided with the launch of online sports betting in New York.

JMP Securities analysts focused on gaming, online gaming, and gaming technology said ESPN Bet accounted for about seven in 10 sports betting app downloads last week. FanDuel was a distant second with about 10% of the sports betting downloads.

Apple’s App Store showed that ESPN Bet was its most downloaded app on the iOS platform last week. It outranked other leading apps, including BigFuture School, Temu: Shop Like a Billionaire, and ChatGPT. There are currently 1.8 million apps available for download in the App Store.

Marketing Blitz

ESPN is heavily marketing the sportsbook app, which is owned and operated by Penn Entertainment, during its television programming and social media messaging. In exchange for Penn directing $1.5 billion to the sports programming network for its brand usage, ESPN is incorporating the sportsbook into its content.

ESPN Bet commercials have been running during “SportsCenter” and also aired during “Monday Night Football’s” game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles in what was a Super Bowl LVII rematch.

ESPN Bet is also now powering the odds on ESPN’s programming and website. Those odds were previously supplied by Caesars Sportsbook.

Penn’s Big Bet

The ESPN Bet app is the rebranded sportsbook app for Penn Entertainment. The Hollywood casino operator in August announced it was folding on its Barstool Sports and Barstool Sportsbook ownership, with ongoing regulatory concerns regarding Barstool founder Dave Portnoy being the company’s primary reason for the business decision.

Penn sold Barstool back to Portnoy for just $1 after just years earlier paying upwards of $500 million for the social media and pop culture organization. Penn then agreed to pay ESPN $1.5 billion for the rights to use the sports media brand in its sports betting operations.

The 17 states where ESPN Bet debuted last week were where the Barstool Sportsbook app was licensed. They include Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The ESPN Bet report from JMP Securities explained that the 1.1 million downloads included automatic downloads for Barstool Sportsbook’s previous users.

Gaming analysts say how the sportsbook app fares over the coming weeks and months will be a better tell into whether ESPN Bet has the ability to compete with the sports betting leaders. They currently are DraftKings with a 45% market share, FanDuel at 32%, and BetMGM at 10%.

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