William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) investors were cheering on Tuesday morning after the bookmaker revealed its digital presence would be vastly expanded via a partnership with sports entertainment giant ESPN.
Caesars Entertainment, for which the FTSE 250 group is the exclusive sports betting partner since last month, has signed a “co-exclusive agreement” for William Hill sports-book odds to appear on the ESPN.com website and the fantasy sports app, with live integrations connecting them directly to William Hill's sports betting apps in legalised states.
Caesars Sportsbook, which is powered by William Hill, will also become a sponsor of ESPN's fantasy products.
“Tens of millions of fans will now have a direct link to our sports betting apps and odds,” said William Hill chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson.
“Giving ESPN users this access will accelerate our leadership as we continue to expand in the US.”
In the month since the partnership with Caesars Entertainment went live, William Hill has opened 12 branded sports books at Caesars hotel and casino properties in Nevada, Iowa and Atlantic City in New Jersey.
The British bookie aims to rebrand the remaining sports books across the Caesars portfolio in the coming weeks, while the rebranded mobile sports betting app will soon be available in Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Nevada.
Pending regulatory approval of all the latter, this will see William Hill operating in more than 170 retail locations across 13 states.
The shares were up 7.5% to 213.9p, also boosted by the news that US hedge fund HG Vora Capital Management has taken a 3.6% stake.