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Volume 25 No. 44
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New Show On ESPN+ Tip Of Iceberg For Sports Betting Programs

ESPN on Thursday night launched its first sports gambling show effort on the ESPN+ streaming platform called “I’ll Take That Bet,” produced by The Action Network in conjunction with ESPN. Shows will post on ESPN+ between 5:00-6:00pm ET several times per week exclusively for ESPN+ and be available on demand. ESPN and Action Network execs said the show was in the works at least a month before the Supreme Court’s decision on May 14. “We got lucky with the timing,” said The Action Network Head of Media Chad Millman. “We had been talking with ESPN for a while about this.” For ESPN, a gambling-style show will fit alongside similar content like the “Chalk” section on ESPN.com, the “Behind the Bets” podcast and Scott Van Pelt’s “Bad Beats” segment on “SportsCenter.” ESPN’s Insider section also has published a lot of content dealing with analytics and data. “We’ve known for years that service fans who care about gambling made sense within our Insider product,” said ESPN Senior VP/Original Content, Newsgathering & Digital Media Rob King. “Our ambition was to be in this space with our premium product at the outset.”

MORE TO COME: King said ESPN is exploring other gambling-related programming for ESPN+. “We know this content has its audience,” he said. “We’re putting together a strong portfolio of content and distribution for ESPN+. This will add value overall.” Each 15-minute show will feature two betting experts from The Action Network alternatively picking 10 bets from a betting board. Picks will be made “fantasy draft style,” with one host making the first pick and the second host making the second pick. Hosts will include Millman, a former ESPN Editorial Dir; former MLBer Paul Lo Duca; former NFLer Geoff Schwartz; and NBA reporter Matt Moore. In Thursday night's episode, Lo Duca’s first bet looked into where LeBron James will play next season. Other bets looked into the NBA Finals, ranging from who would win Game 1 to who would win the series to who would be named MVP. “We have a chance to give the audience content in a way that others aren’t,” Millman said.