Turner’s Bleacher Report Ramping Up Sports Betting Coverage
Similar to how many media companies have expanded coverage of legalized sports betting since a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018, Bleacher Report is following suit. Bleacher Report is doubling down on its effort to attract consumers in an increasingly competitive marketplace against the likes of ESPN and Fox Sports.
Bleacher Report Finds Value in Gambling Content
Bleacher Report, a division within AT&T WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports division, has committed considerably more coverage of sports betting in the year following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a federal ban on sports betting. The increased content is spread across multiple platforms and targeted toward a younger audience.
Bleacher Report claims it reaches more than 250 million people monthly via social media services Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“Because we have an app that has almost 20 million downloads, 9.5 million consumers receiving alerts from us anywhere from 5 to 20 times per day, we sit on a lot of first-party data,” Bleacher Report CEO Howard Mittman said, per CNBC. “We understand what consumers are doing. We like to think of the app as the heartbeat of the American sports fan.”
In February, Bleacher Report entered into a partnership with Caesars Entertainment to construct a broadcast studio inside the sportsbook located inside Caesars’ namesake casino in Las Vegas.
The studio will be used to produce a “wide assortment of gaming-related programming and editorial content,” Turner said in a statement, and is expected to be operational by this summer. Caesars will also be a presenting partner of select sports television programming that will on Turner-owned networks such as TBS and TNT.
Several Media Companies Expanding Coverage
That deal preceded ESPN announcing Tuesday it too had partnered with Caesars to build a studio inside the Linq Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Similar to how Bleacher Report plans to utilize its studio at Caesars, ESPN will use its studio at the Linq primarily to create gaming-specific content.
Both Bleacher Report and ESPN have also named Caesars an official partner, with the casino providing each media company data that will be incorporated into their respective content production. Caesars is also the NFL’s first official casino sponsor.
“We are commingling the data we have about usage, experience and what consumers want with Caesars data, which is some of the most powerful and cumulative data in the world for sports betting,” Mittman said, per CNBC.
Media conglomerates have steadily increased their presence in the gaming industry in the year since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That judgement overturned the federal ban on sports wagering outside of Nevada, where the practice has long been legal, instead permitting each state to determine whether to legalize sports betting.
Eight states (including Nevada) now have operational sportsbooks, and several others either already have approved or are in the process of approving laws to legalize sports betting. Experts contend sportsbooks could be operational in upward of 30 states by the end of 2020.
That proliferation of legal sports betting has gradually seen the stigma that media companies practiced for years regarding sports betting fade away. Media companies now seek to capitalize upon the changing landscape. According to a study released by Bleacher Report in February, nearly 63 percent of sports fans surveyed between the age of 21 and 34 believe wagering on sports is acceptable.
“I think younger consumers relate to the gamification of all things – not just Fortnite, EA Sports and Madden,” Mittman said. “If you look at Las Vegas, younger consumers don’t use slot machines, they are more apt to bet on sports.