William Hill, CBS Tie-up To Launch Next Fall
Legal Sports Report

How CBS Sports Will Leverage William Hill As US Sports Betting Media Partner

William Hill

William Hill has found its US sports betting media partner after a lengthy search.

After months of speculation, the bookmark today announced a “strategic partnership” with CBS Sports. The deal makes Hills the official sportsbook and wagering data provider across all CBS Sports platforms.

The partnership will kick off with initial integrations in March. A full rollout is planned for the 2020 fantasy NFL football season.

“Becoming the official sports betting provider to CBS is another major step forward for William Hill in our US expansion,” said Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO of William Hill PLC.

“We are already a market leader with leading access, a bespoke technology platform and the most experienced US team. Now we have exclusive media, branding and promotional rights across CBS’ leading digital sports properties, to take the William Hill brand further and faster in the US.”

What does the William Hill with CBS deal include?

Under the arrangement, William Hill gets exclusive rights to promote its brand across CBS Sports’ digital properties, including CBS Sports Fantasy.

Hills said this would deliver “highly efficient customer acquisition.” On TV, CBS will use William Hill data, odds, and markets across its programming.   

“CBS Sports, similar to William Hill, has a longstanding history of connecting fans directly to the biggest events and most iconic moments in sports,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. 

“We are excited about this partnership, with assets including mass-reach digital content products, one of the largest fantasy sports databases and platforms in the world, and leading sports television programming, which will allow us to expand the William Hill brand across America quickly and efficiently.”

How big is CBS Sports?

CBS Sports Digital is the second-largest sports property in the US, with more than 80 million users per month across its sites and apps.

The network has already embraced betting to an extent via its SportsLine product, which is a subscription platform for game picks and predictions.

Other assets include:

  • CBSSports.com
  • 24/7 streaming network CBS Sports HQ 
  • CBS Sports Fantasy
  • CBS Sports apps
  • 247 Sports

Jeffrey Gerttula, executive vice president and general manager at CBS Sports Digital, said the deal would see the network increase its investment in betting content.

“The power of our distribution, combined with the strength of our brands and the expertise of William Hill, has us well-positioned to tap into the explosive growth of the legal sports betting industry in the US,” Gerttula said.

Media model is no sure thing

The deal is the latest partnership between operators and US media giants. It follows similar agreements from MGM/Yahoo, The Stars Group and Fox Sports, TheScore and Penn National and Barstool Sports.

The market reacted positively to reports of the CBS deal over the weekend, with William Hill’s stock up 5% on Monday. The media partnership model, however, is not yet fully proven in the US and comes with risks, not least the cost to the operator, as some analysts note:

No financial details were disclosed, so it’s unclear whether the deal is done on a revenue-sharing basis to help align incentives.

Either way, the cost may keep William Hill US from profitability in 2020. It was break-even this year.

Any more media dominoes left to fall?

NBC might be the biggest partner left on the table for sportsbook operators. The network is currently talking to multiple operators and some local partners already began integrating betting content.

The likes of Sports Illustrated could also be an option.

Brad Allen
- Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.
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