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ESPN Bet’s Lackluster Earnings Mocked…on ESPN

Making a fortune in America’s sports betting boom isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Just ask the folks running ESPN Bet. With incredible name recognition, and some very deep pockets, the sports media giant’s foray into running a sportsbook hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Now, after a lackluster earnings report, even the company’s own stars are mocking its troubles.

Late last week Pat McAffee, one of ESPN’s biggest stars and resident sports betting expert, took some serious on-air shots at ESPN Bet’s recent tepid earnings report. “Reports have come back, ESPN Bet has a lot of room to grow,” the commentator who makes $15 million a year from ESPN said.

McAffee was referring to a Q1 2024 earnings report from PENN, the company that actually runs ESPN Bet, showing a 3.6 percent decline in year-on-year revenue for the company. That decline comes despite revenue totaling $1.6 billion.

“Hey, good luck. Let’s go ESPN Bet. You get knocked down, you come back. Legit. Good luck. We’re pulling for it because we are on ESPN and obviously we’re a part of ESPN, so we would like ESPN stuff to succeed. Now, granted, ESPN Bet, I don’t think ESPN people are running the book,” McAffee added, according to the New York Post.

PENN CEO Jay Snowden had a slightly different take on the matter telling investors, “Our online sports betting results were negatively impacted by a slightly lower handle per user than we modeled and well-documented unfavorable hold in the quarter, which continued through March Madness with the favorite UConn winning their matchups by large margins.”

The bottom line here is that making a mint in sports betting is never as easy as it sounds.