• Bleacher Report has partnered with Caesars Entertainment to inject sports betting odds into its Draft coverage.
  • This is the most public example to date of the new betting-based sports media model.
  • Tune in to see how the NBA Draft’s picks affect live futures odds in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – Tonight’s NBA draft (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.) is one of the most anticipated in recent memory. However, the public interest isn’t due to any uncertainty atop the draft boards – Duke’s Zion Williamson is a -10,000 favorite at the few betting sites that even have action on the event.

Instead, the interest comes from the fact that this is the first NBA draft to take place in the shadow of widely expanded US sports betting.

To that end, Bleacher Report is offering a new spin on its typical draft coverage. While the network will air its standard coverage, a new show is being trialed during this year’s draft.

The new Bleacher Report program will be aired live from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and the coverage will be based on how each draft selection affects live NBA betting odds.

The initiative is a logical conclusion given national developments, as Bleacher Report chief content officer Sam Toles explains:

“If you’re somebody who’s passionate about sports betting and is curious about how this really transformational draft season is going to change the line, I think you will find something really fascinating and never-before-seen in that segment of the show.”

Giving the viewers what they want – in this case, betting information and analysis – is a gambit that Bleacher Report expects to pay off in a big way.

In the 2018 NBA Draft last year, Bleacher Report’s single-day coverage racked up almost six million total engagements. This year, says Toles, the outlet expects even bigger things. And the new live lines feature is viewed as the crown jewel of the brand’s strategy.

If successful in driving viewership, you can expect to see more of the same from Bleacher Report and Caesars Entertainment going forward.

A lot more.

Sports Betting And Sports Media: A Match Made In Heaven

Bleacher Report’s tie-in with Caesars Entertainment is a result of Turner Sports’ February partnership with the casino giant.

Of course, the concept is nothing new.

In 2015, Disney – owner of leading sports media outlet ESPN – nearly invested heavily in daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator DraftKings.

Disney CEO Bob Iger and his team ultimately put the brakes on the deal, as DFS was then deemed to be too much of an “adult product” for Disney’s interests.

Times have since changed, however. DraftKings is now one of the larger sportsbook operators in the country, and Disney now owns a stake in the company (which was acquired in its March merger with 21st Century Fox).

Tie-ins of the DraftKings property with ESPN are firmly on the table going forward.

But these developments are nothing new in spirit.

In fact, the history of sports broadcasts incorporating betting data is a storied one.

The practice purportedly got its start in the 1970s when celebrity gambler Jimmy Snyder (aka Jimmy the Greek) shared his weekly picks with CBS audiences on The NFL Today pregame show.

By sharing specific score predictions for each matchup, Snyder was in actual fact telling bettors how to wager on the games’ Las Vegas (and underground) point spreads.

Such subtlety is a thing of the past, as legal sports betting is no longer taboo in the mainstream consciousness. The activity has moved from the fringes to front and center, and the American public has been receptive to the new betting-focused shift in sports coverage nationwide.

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