Feb 10, 2020 - Sports

CBS Sports names William Hill as sports book, data partner

Photo: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

CBS Sports said Monday that William Hill, a sportsbook operator, will be the official sportsbook and provider of wager information for the network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Why it matters: It's the latest media company to partner with a sportsbook to increase engagement with its content. Content partnerships for sportsbooks, on the other hand, help them acquire more customers.

"We need to acquire customers, and we think that the existing CBS database of customers, 80 million+ in CBS Sports' digital audience and tens of millions on social, is an attractive audience for us to reach. ... We expect a far more efficient customer acquisition cost because CBS has the right audience of prospective sports betters that we can try to tap into."
— Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, told Axios

Details: The partnership will tip off with initial integrations in March on CBS Sports digital platforms, with a full rollout planned for the fantasy football season.

  • CBS Sports says the partnership will allow the company to create more digital content by leveraging William Hill’s odds, experts and 140+ sportsbooks. It also says the data can be used on CBS linear television programming.
  • "You can expect to see our social handles ramping up in video content with this investment," said Jeffrey Gerttula, executive vice president and general manager of CBS Sports Digital, in an interview with Axios. "For example, you can expect to see William Hill talent providing insight there or bringing people from William Hill into video coverage to talk about lines, line movements, etc."
  • In return, William Hill will receive exclusive rights to promote its brand across CBS Sports’ digital properties, including through CBS Sports Fantasy.

Be smart: CBS has dabbled with sports betting content in the past, but hadn't previously engaged in any official sportsbook partnerships.

  • In September 2018, CBS Sports debuted its first-ever show dedicated to sports gambling, called "SportsLine Edge," on its 24/7 over-the-top streaming network — CBS Sports HQ.
  • As Axios reported at the time, the network launched SportsLine.com for betting and picks-related content in 2015, and it has since launched other tools, like a popular office pool manager product for sports betting.

The big picture: More media companies are investing in sports betting as a way to re-engage dying TV audiences and expand growing digital audiences.

  • While some companies like Fox Sports are actually running their own sportsbooks, most media networks, like CBS Sports and Turner Sports, are taking a more cautious approach — partnering with casinos on the ground in Vegas for content, but not establishing their own books.
  • ESPN said last year it's partnering with Caesars Entertainment. Turner Sports and Bleacher Report announced a similar deal in February, building a branded Bleacher Report studio inside the Caesars Palace Sports Book in Las Vegas.

Go deeper:

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Media companies eye sportsbook partnerships to juice engagement

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Almost all major media companies are teaming up with sportsbooks to juice their content offerings.

Why it matters: The partnerships allow media organizations to increase engagement while sportsbooks can acquire more customers.

The sports betting industry is set for a big year

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Barstool Sports used to be a media company, but on the heels of a $163 million investment from Penn National Gaming, it is now, in many respects, a sports betting company.

Why it matters: Barstool's evolution speaks to where the sports betting industry stands at the outset of 2020. With legalization on the horizon in key states and mobile betting set to explode, sportsbook operators are in a race to acquire users and build the best digital storefront.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020

George Cheeks to replace CBS chief Joe Ianniello at ViacomCBS

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

ViacomCBS announced Friday that George Cheeks, a longtime executive at NBCUniversal, was appointed president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group, succeeding Joe Ianniello, CBS' current chairman and CEO.

The big picture: Ianniello is reportedly being sought to lead a bid for Univision Communications, per the Wall Street Journal. In a memo to staff obtained by Axios, Ianniello says Friday is his last day with the company after 22 years.