ESPN Bet and theScore Partner with NHL, ESPN Bet Criticized
The National Hockey League (NHL) has inked marketing partnerships with ESPN Bet and theScore as the latest “Official Sports Betting Partners.” This deal will allow both sports betting firms to advertise across NHL programming and use the league’s branding in their marketing materials, according to ESPN. ESPN Bet officially launched on November 14 in 17 states.
Jason Jazayeri, the NHL’s vice president of business development, expressed excitement about the partnership with ESPN Bet, and stated that the league is younger, faster, and more appealing than ever, providing a great opportunity for fan engagement and responsible gaming experiences. The marketing agreement was made between the NHL and Penn Entertainment, and it gives the league’s new partners intellectual property rights, media, and marketing integrations across NHL programming. ESPN Bet’s partnership is limited to US operations, while theScore’s deal covers use in Ontario.
Besides ESPN Bet and theScore, the NHL also has partnerships with other sports betting companies such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. ESPN Bet is aiming to gain market share from industry leaders by offering aggressive marketing tactics. The sportsbook’s app was downloaded 1.1 million times during its first week, setting a record for any U.S. sports betting platform.
Despite this success, there have been criticisms of ESPN Bet. One bettor named Kelce Johnson recently shared his experience on Twitter, where ESPN Bet voided his bet after one of his five bets pushed while the four others won. This policy has drawn the ire of some bettors, and ESPN Bet has been asked to clarify the criticism. Critics say that most sportsbooks recalculate parlay odds when a single bet pushes and the others win, and the bettor is supposed to be paid out that amount. However, according to ESPN Bet’s fine print, a single push renders the parlay null of action.
The NHL has also responded to the criticism, promising to ensure responsible gaming experiences for fans and sports bettors. This controversy has put a damper on the recent partnership, highlighting the importance of transparency and fair treatment of bettors.