ESPN Bet App Draws Women, Redefines Sports Betting


In the increasingly vibrant world of mobile sports betting, Penn Entertainment has hit a promising note with its introduction of the ESPN Bet app. This new platform is doing more than making waves with its download figures; it’s potentially reshaping the market demographic. According to Bank of America analyst Shaun Kelley, ESPN Bet is appealing strongly to an untapped segment of the sports betting community—casual and female bettors. This trend could herald a significant shift in an industry where traditionally, women have been less engaged in the US, in stark contrast to their European counterparts.

Launched across 17 states on November 14, ESPN Bet’s immediate impact was palpable as it amassed over a million downloads in just its opening week. The storied ESPN brand may well be making the difference, attracting newcomers to the bettor’s fold. The early acceptance of casual gamblers and women through ESPN Bet could signal a broadening of the market, stirring optimism for the entire sports gaming industry.

ESPN’s entrance into the field may also be shaking up the competition. Market data from those states where the app is live indicates ESPN Bet is outstripping its expected share of the market. In doing so, it appears to be nudging aside established players like BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and DraftKings. Even industry leader FanDuel sees only a slim gain in its sizeable share of the market, credited in part to the basketball season uptick and strategic marketing efforts.

The competitive landscape, strengthened by ESPN Bet and Fanatics, hasn’t upset the cart for DraftKings. Despite facing new challengers, DraftKings appears resilient, with steady customer retention and spending through early assessments.

Amidst its promising start, ESPN Bet’s promotional outlay is drawing scrutiny. The buzz among detractors is that the app’s success hinges on its substantial promotional spend. However, Kelley provides a measured perspective, indicating that the marketing investment is proportionate to other operators, particularly in states like Maryland and Kansas. Still, given ESPN Bet’s strong initial grab of the market, the actual promotional expenses are high—and Bank of America has adjusted its loss projections upwards accordingly.

Against this backdrop, it’s projected that ESPN Bet may not hit profitability until 2025. However, only time will tell if this new player will continue its current trajectory and permanently alter the landscape of sports betting in the process.

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