Caesars Entertainment Group and Turner Sports, which is part of AT&T, are joining forces to create new gaming content. The move comes as casino operators begin to vie for position in the sports gambling market in the U.S. and comes after a number of deals have already been struck between professional sports teams and leagues with several casino brands.
According to the Bleacher Report, the new Caesars/Turner deal is reportedly the first between a national TV network and a major casino operator. However, it most likely won’t be the last. Other companies, such as Disney-owned ESPN, could most likely join the fray.
In supporting the new partnership, Caesars will develop a studio this spring that will be branded with Turner’s Bleacher Report. That studio will be hosted by Caesars Palace. Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels states in a press release, “The sports gaming industry is rapidly growing and Turner is poised to be an industry leader in the development of gaming-related content experiences. Gaming content will be a key driver for increasing fan engagement across all platforms, including time spent watching live sporting events and other criteria that impact television viewership. We’re excited to form this groundbreaking relationship with Caesars, a proven leader in sports gaming, as we collaborate to deliver the best gaming-related content experiences for our fans.”
The financial terms of the deal were not released, but construction of the new studio is already underway. Caesars is also expected to act as a gaming and sponsorship partner for Bleacher Report per the agreement’s terms, and will sponsor some programming on several of Turner’s linear networks. There is also talk that it could co-produce additional programming and/or events.
Mark Frissora, the president and CEO of Caesars, adds in the release, “Caesars Entertainment continues to redefine its role as a sports authority in the gaming-hospitality industry. Aligning with one of the most influential brands in all of sports media allows Caesars Entertainment to amplify its sports-gaming experience for guests across our global empire and also reach millions of fans who engage with Bleacher Report for premier content every day.”
Whether Disney’s ESPN can join the gambling business remains to be seen. Disney, as a company, has a strict “family-friendly” approach to its operations and gambling isn’t included in its list of acceptable family-centric activities. The company already fought to try and prevent gambling from expanding in Florida, and may continue to shun any partnership that involves gaming.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger recently told investors, “I do think there’s plenty of room” for Disney to allow reporting on gambling. “ESPN has done some of this already, and they may do more, to provide information … that would be relevant and of particular interest to gambling. [They are] basically being fairly overt about it. But getting into the business of gambling—I rather doubt it.”