CBS Sports and William Hill announced Tuesday a strategic partnership that makes the latter the Official Sports Book and Wagering Data Provider across all CBS Sports platforms. The deal will reinvent fan engagement through an integration of sports betting, media, product and technology. The partnership will kick-off with initial integrations in March on CBS Sports digital platforms, with a full rollout planned for the fantasy football season.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The partnership extends CBS Sports’ digital leadership in the sports betting space and allows for the creation of even more relevant content across its wide array of platforms. CBS Sports will utilise William Hill’s odds, experts and more than 140 sportsbooks to bolster its current digital offerings, delivering deeper information and programming produced from William Hill sportsbooks across the country, and further engaging sports bettors and fans. In addition, the partnership includes opportunities to feature William Hill data, odds and markets across CBS television programming.
William Hill will receive exclusive rights to promote its brand across CBS Sports’ broad range of digital properties, including through CBS Sports Fantasy, one of the largest fantasy platforms in the world, resulting in highly efficient customer acquisition for the sports betting company.
“We’re thrilled to launch this momentous partnership, which will allow us to deepen our investment and further extend our leadership in delivering multi-platform sports wagering content, while providing William Hill with unprecedented reach for their market-leading betting platform as they continue to grow their industry leading U.S. business,” said Jeffrey Gerttula, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Sports Digital in a news release. “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 U.S. Together, we will deliver even more value to this rapidly growing segment of sports fans.”
“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.”
Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO of William Hill PLC commented: "Becoming the official sports betting provider to CBS is another major step forward for William Hill in our US expansion. 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."
CBS Sports Digital is the second-largest sports property in the U.S. with more than 80 million users per month across its sites and apps as well as tens of millions of followers on social platforms. CBS Sports Digital offerings include SportsLine, the dedicated subscription platform for game picks and predictions that has seen strong subscriber growth in recent years; CBSSports.com; 24/7 streaming network CBS Sports HQ, which features the nightly SportsLine show focused on sports betting and delivered triple-digit viewership growth in 2019; CBS Sports Fantasy; CBS Sports apps; and 247Sports.
Asher last year told the Financial Times that his company was in “multiple discussions” over a US media deal. The move comes as British bookies seek to boost their brand amid growing competition in the recently legalised US sports betting market.
The companies are also facing a squeeze on profits in the UK amid tighter regulation, including an upcoming ban on credit card gambling. William Hill has also been hit by the government’s decision to introduce a maximum £2 bet cap on fix-odds betting terminals, down from the previous maximum of £100. The company said it would close 700 stores as a result of the measures. However, the firm last month posted better-than-expected profit for the full year due to “favourable sporting results”, with its US business enjoying further growth.
The tie-up with CBS Sports follows similar deals by the bookmaker’s rivals. Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC has inked an agreement with Yahoo Sports and casino operator MGM, while Paddy Power owner Flutter is set to sign a deal with Fox Sports following its £10 billion merger with The Stars Group.