Penn Entertainment has signed a deal for its ESPN Bet and theScore Bet brands to become the official sports betting partner of the National Hockey League (NHL).

As part of the agreement, ESPN Bet will become an NHL partner in the United States. Penn also agreed to a partnership between theScore Bet and the NHL in Ontario, Canada.

Penn said the deal takes effect immediately. It includes the NHL regular season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 2024 NHL Winter Classic, the 2024 NHL Stadium Series and the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend.

The agreement grants ESPN Bet and theScore Bet access to a variety of claims. This includes IP rights and media and marketing integrations across NHL programming and premium NHL experiences. Additionally, the partnership includes collaboration on game integrity procedures.

Big partnership for newcomer ESPN Bet

ESPN Bet, a product of Penn’s partnership with Disney-owned ESPN, is among the latest brands to launch in the US. It went live in 17 states on November 14th.

Essentially, it’s a rebrand of the existing sports betting app Barstool Sportsbook. In August, Penn announced it was selling Barstool Sports back to its founder, Dave Portnoy, for $1.

“It’s definitely exciting to be one of the first leagues to partner with ESPN Bet and Penn,” said Jason Jazayeri, NHL vice president of business development. “From day one, we have said that our media rights agreement with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company has been a great win for our fans and our league, and this new collaboration is further evidence of the value of our partnership.

“The NHL is younger, faster and more exciting than ever. It offers tremendous opportunities for fan engagement and responsible gaming experiences. We look forward to working with ESPN Bet and theScore Bet to engage our passionate fan base.”

Broader engagement among NHL fans

Aubrey Levy, senior vice president of marketing and content at Penn Interactive, also praised the new deal.

“The recent launch of ESPN Bet in the US is extremely exciting,” Levy said. “We are excited to partner with the NHL to help us market our new sports betting experience.

“As an official partner, we can engage hockey fans more fully, develop compelling integrations and leverage NHL programming in unique ways.” This is also an important partnership for theScore Bet in Ontario, where hockey’s popularity is unmatched.”

Strong support for the launch of ESPN Bet

The partnership adds further fuel to the already strong ESPN-Bet fire.

When the brand launched, a first wave of integration was announced, targeting an estimated audience of 200 million. The launch of ESPN Bet also featured an advertising campaign featuring SportsCenter hosts Scott van Pelt and Elle Duncan.

ESPN is the largest sports media brand in the United States with over 105 million monthly unique digital visitors. The company also has a strong social media presence with 370 million fans, while 25 million subscribe to the ESPN+ streaming service.

Penn and ESPN have also developed a set of content guidelines for ESPN Bet. These apply to social media marketing.

By becoming ESPN’s exclusive sportsbook, this effectively ends ESPN’s existing partnerships with companies like DraftKings and Caesars. Both brands were previously considered as potential sports betting partners for the channel.