William Hill, CBS Sports ink sports betting ‘strategic partnership’


william-hill-cbs-sports-betting-partnershipUK bookmaker William Hill has confirmed its sports betting media partnership with US broadcaster CBS Sports.

Following several weeks’ worth of rumors and reports of failed talks, Hills and CBS confirmed their ‘strategic partnership’ that designates Hills as the Official Sports Book and Wagering Data Provider across all CBS Sports platforms. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but the deal formally takes effect in March and will ramp up in time for the 2020 NFL season.

The deal will grant Hills exclusive rights to promote its betting brand to the 80m or so monthly users of CBS Sports’ digital platforms, while CBS will utilize Hills’ odds and experts to bolster said digital offerings. The official announcement also teased the possibility of featuring Hills’ “data, odds and markets across CBS television programming.”

Hills CEO Ulrik Bengtsson said the CBS deal was “another major step forward” in the company’s US expansion efforts. With Hills already active in 10 US betting states, the “exclusive media, branding and promotional rights” from the CBS deal will “take the William Hill brand further and faster in the US.”

Jeffrey Gerttula, exec VP of CBS Sports Digital, said his company was “thrilled to launch this momentous partnership.” Gerttula claimed that matching “the power of our distribution” with Hills’ expertise “has us well positioned to tap into the explosive growth of the legal sports betting industry in the US.”

Monday’s announcement is the latest in a growing number of betting-media partnerships, following the Fox Bet joint venture of The Stars Group and Fox Sports, the Roar Digital joint venture of MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings striking a deal with Yahoo Sports, and last month’s purchase by Penn National Gaming of a 36% stake in Barstool Sports.

All these deals appear intent on mimicking the successful marriage of UK broadcast giant Sky with the Sky Betting & Gaming online betting operation (which now belongs to The Stars Group). But the jury remains out on whether that model will translate to the US betting market and even if it does, whether it will be worth the price the betting operators are being asked to pay.

This past weekend saw the debut of the reconstituted XFL, which named DraftKings and Fox Bet its first official authorized gaming partners. The league is the first to openly embrace legal betting on its product, and prominently displayed betting odds onscreen during its broadcasts on Fox Sports and ABC/ESPN. It remains to be seen whether such a system will be in place when the suddenly betting-friendly NFL kicks off its next season in September.