Mims: ESPN Bet enters the market to battle Fanatics for a place with DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM

With the Big four dominating the market, a fight will be on to gain (or keep) market share.

We're about to see a new entrant into the world of sports betting: The highly anticipated debut of ESPN Bet, the collaboration between ESPN and Penn Entertainment, which sent shock waves through the industry. While there is an upside to moving from Barstool Sports to ESPN, skeptics say the cost of the deal is excessive. The deal has a built-in contingency  plan that allows for it to be dissolved if certain thresholds are not achieved.

This makes the sports betting market have two dynamic entities coming in during the last 6 months. Fanatics made a seismic move by acquiring PointsBet back in June, allowing Fanatics immediate access to the market without building an infrastructure from the ground up. Now that they are in the market, there will be a battle as to which company will join the big 4 of sports betting as we know it – DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sports Book, and BetMGM. This group makes up over 85% of the market. While the market does have room for growth, the established players will be targeted for acquisition. Let’s look at what ESPN Bet and Fanatics have to offer.

ESPN Bet will have a brand name that everyone is familiar with. Their coverage of all the major professional sports will give them a platform directly to the sports betting community. The demographics that fit a sports gambler are met by ESPN. ESPN appeals to males, and individuals who are affluent. Their coverage of the NFL will be dominated by promos that give the viewers access to their own app while still showing advertisements from the big 4. This is a total win for ESPN.

Fanatics will have a leg up because of early market entry. Fanatics also can appeal to the sports patron in a unique way. The Fanatics brand is known for sports apparel and memorabilia. The swag of having a chance to wager on a game and win a collectible item is something that no other operator can do without incurring costs. Fanatics also has an established clientele that they can market the Fanatic Sports Experience too. They would be advised to monitor controls to avoid compliance issues with gaming regulations.

So, who wins? The patrons are looking for an app that is easy to sign up for and navigate, that can resolve issues quickly and expedite withdrawals. The sharp bettor will compare the lines offered by the two and  determine which operator offers the most bang for the play. Innovation always rules the day so the operator that can differentiate from the competitors in the market will gain a substantial edge, The public will decide which of these operators can turn the sports betting industry into a Fab Five.

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