ESPN opens new broadcast studio atop the Linq, overlooking the Las Vegas Strip Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · August 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm The nation’s largest sports broadcasting network is moving its sports betting content to the Las Vegas Strip. ESPN said Monday it will begin broadcasting from its new studio at the Linq resort starting Sept. 8, with its Daily Wager program. The network will begin airing produced segments for SportsCenter and its digital platforms from the new studio that overlooks the Strip. The collaboration between ESPN and the Linq’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, has been in the works since last year. The 6,000-square-foot-facility includes three studios and features 12 cameras, including two exterior robotic cameras. “With the marquee location of the studio right at the heart of the Strip, we’re excited to see the unique programming that could only be produced here in Las Vegas,” Chris Holdren, Caesars’ co-president of Caesars Sports, said in a statement. The May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing states to legalize and regulate sports betting gave ESPN the impetus to develop programming direct toward sports gamblers. In May 2019, the network announced it would build the ESPN-branded studio at the Linq. ESPN reached a partnership with Caesars to serve as the network’s official odds supplier. “In our ongoing mission to serve sports fans, we are committing to a bigger presence both in Las Vegas and with our content across platforms to authentically serve a fast-growing, highly engaged audience,” said ESPN Vice President of Business Development Mike Morrison. “We are incredibly fortunate to work alongside a great partner like Caesars Entertainment to achieve this and look forward to collaborating on more opportunities in the future.” Daily Wager, an hour-long Monday-through-Friday betting news and information program was created in March 2019. In August, the show added a Sunday morning edition to air during the football season. Las Vegas, NV – March, 10, 2020: The ESPN Las Vegas Studio(Photo by Al Powers / ESPN Images) However, the program went on hiatus in March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down college and professional sports, as well as the nation’s casino industry. Now, with the NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball season resuming this summer, and the NFL moving toward a September kick-off, Daily Wager will permanently move to Las Vegas and originate from the LINQ studio as it returns to ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET on weekdays. Daily Wager is hosted by Doug Kezirian, who spent seven years as a sports anchor for the ABC affiliate in Las Vegas and covered the sports betting industry. The program was moved from ESPNews to ESPN2 just five months after launching. Kezirian, in an interview with CDC Gaming Reports last year, said the idea behind the show was to better serve fans who are also active sports bettors. The show strives to educate general sports fans with more in-depth analysis. Kezirian, who has covered sports betting for more than 15 years, is joined on the program by sports betting experts as well as ESPN analysts and reporters. ESPN will also expand its sports betting-themed content this fall into multiple platforms with the launch of a new digital show. New episodes will be available three days a week on the ESPN app, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as part of a new sports betting channel that will include content originating from Caesars. “The appetite for sports betting content continues to grow among fans,” ESPN Vice President of Content Connor Schell said. “Our new studio will not only operate as the headquarters for that content, but it will also anchor our year-round presence in Las Vegas – a city that has become a destination for the biggest events in sports.” Schell mentioned that ESPN’s Monday Night Football will include the home opener for Las Vegas Raiders at the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium. In the 27 months since the Supreme Court ruling, legal sports betting is now available in 18 states with another four states potentially able to launch before the end of 2020. In 2019, gamblers nationwide legally wagered more than $13 billion on sports, a figure that was easily on track to be crushed in 2020 until COVID-19. Meanwhile, Caesars was acquired by Reno-based Eldorado Resorts in a $17.3 billion merger that closed on July 20. Eldorado’s management took over operations of Caesars, and the combined companies assumed the Caesars’ name. Along with Eldorado in the deal came sportsbook operator William Hill US. The former Eldorado owns 20% of Las Vegas-based William Hill US, which has a 25-year deal to operate sports betting at the company’s regional and Nevada casinos. William Hill is the process of assuming the operations and management of 11 Caesars sportsbooks in Nevada, including the venerable location at Caesars Palace. The company expects to establish an online sports betting presence for Caesars, along with its William Hill app. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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