The call is coming from inside the sportsbook!

What Turner Deal With Caesars Tells Us About Sports Media Partnerships

Caesars

As sports betting in America continues to expand, it seemed inevitable that casinos and media conglomerates would begin pairing off.

On Thursday, one such partnership emerged.

Turner Sports announced in a press release that it reached a “first-of-its-kind agreement” with Caesars Entertainment. The joint venture will allow Turner to develop “gaming-themed content” for sports fans. The sportsbook at Caesars Palace Las Vegas will soon become the home of a Bleacher Report-branded studio.

While other similar deals have been struck in the past, this partnership does seem to indicate what the future holds for media coverage of sports and legalized sports betting. And that future features strong ties between the two entities.

B/R studio setup at Caesars

Turner Sports is considered a sports industry leader across its platforms. Among its properties:

  • NBA
  • MLB
  • NCAA March Madness
  • PGA Tour

In addition, the company manages a number of popular digital and social platforms, such as Bleacher Report (B/R). Last spring, Turner rolled out B/R Live, a premium live-streaming service.

A B/R-branded studio will reside within the Caesars Palace sportsbook. Already in development, the B/R studio will create a “wide assortment of gaming-themed programming” as well as editorial content to be distributed via the platform’s website and mobile app. Additional details of the studio will be unveiled in the coming months.

What Caesars gets in the deal

For its part, Bleacher Report will prominently feature the Caesars brand as a “Bleacher Report gaming category partner.” B/R expects to integrate Caesars within its wide array of content offerings and distribution platforms while using Caesars as a presenting sponsorof select programming across Turner’s linear networks.

What is interesting, however, is that Turner will reportedly not receive affiliate fees for customers it refers to Caesars. That’s at least for the time being.

Turner president David Levy indicated the three ways in which his company can benefit from legal sports betting:

  • Streaming viewership
  • New content
  • Affiliate fees

Future of sports betting includes media ties

Since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA to open the gates for state-regulated sports betting, casinos and sportsbooks have piled up partnerships with leagues and teams.

Now it’s the media’s turn.

Already, broadcasting companies such as Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) have agreements in place similar to Turner’s recent deal. VSiN, for example, hosts shows at South Point, as well as at Ocean Resort Casino in New Jersey.

In that same vein, USA Today has a studio within the Mandalay Bay sportsbook in Sin City.

ESPN

While ESPN may be staying away from such partnerships, as Disney CEO Bob Iger noted recently, other media groups are stepping in to fill a newly created void of sports betting content.

After all, as Brendan Bussmann told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, sports content can increase fan engagement, such as in-game betting, that benefits both broadcaster and casino.

As Bussman, a partner at casino research firm Global Market Advisors, said: “The hard-core bettor wants that content.”

What they’re saying about the deal

From Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports:

“The sports gaming industry is rapidly growing and Turner is poised to be an industry leader in the development of gaming-themed 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-themed content experiences for our fans.”

Added Mark Frissora, president and CEO for Caesars Entertainment:

“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.”

Grant Lucas
- Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.