Turner Sports and Caesars Entertainment Announce Partnership

Friday, February 8th, 2019 | Written by April Bergman
Turner Sports and Caesars Entertainment Announce Partnership

Turner Sports announced a partnership with Caesars Entertainment to develop gaming-related sports content. Turner Sports owns a wide network of sports broadcast, live streaming, and online content. Caesars Entertainment owns more US casino resort properties than any other gaming group.

Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports, said in a press release, “The sports gaming industry is rapidly growing and Turner is poised to be an industry leader in the development of gaming-related content experiences.”

A key part of the deal allows Caesars Entertainment Corporation to open a Bleacher Report studio in the sportsbook of its flagship Las Vegas casino property, Caesars Palace.

Daniels added, “Gaming content will be a key driver for increasing fan engagement across all platforms, including time spent watching live sporting events and other criteria that impact television viewership. We’re excited to form this groundbreaking relationship with Caesars, a proven leader in sports gaming, as we collaborate to deliver the best gaming-related content experiences for our fans.”

Turner Sports Profile

As a division of the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), Turner Sports produces the sports broadcasts on cable channels like TBS, TNT, TruTV, and NBA TV. Turner Sports also operates digital media outlets like NBA.com, NCAA.com, PGA.com, and PGATour.com.

Since 2012, the Turner Broadcasting System has owned the open publishing powerhouse, Bleacher Report (B/R).

In 2018, the two entities launched B/R Live, a subscripion video streaming service which features live broadcasts of several major sporting events: NBA League Pass, NCAA championships, the PGA Championship, The Alliance of American Football, and all EUFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches.

How Caesars Sports Betting Broadcasts Work

Under terms of the deal with Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Caesars plans to open a Bleacher Report studio in the Caesars Palace’s sportsbook. The new studio, which will open in early summer 2019, will distribute sports betting programing and other gaming-related editorial content.

Caesars sports betting content will be distributed via Bleacher Report and the B/R app. Just as Caesars sports content will appear on B/R products online, Caesars properties also will display Bleacher Report signage and branding.

Departing Caesars Entertainment CEO Mark Frissora said of the deal with Turner Sports and Bleacher Report, “Caesars Entertainment continues to redefine its role as a sports authority in the gaming-hospitality industry. Aligning with one of the most influential brands in all of sports media allows Caesars Entertainment to amplify its sports-gaming experience for guests across our global empire and also reach millions of fans who engage with Bleacher Report for premier content every day.”

B/R App Content

Those who download the B/R app will have access to Caesars Entertainment sports betting and gaming content. With the launch of the B/R studio months away, details remain sparse about the personalities and overall tone of the Caesars sports broadcasts and live streams.

Over the coming months, readers can expect to hear which sports media personalities will sign with Caesars Entertainment. Whether any Bleacher Report writers or personalities plan to join the Caesars lineup remains to be seen.

Carl Icahn Wants Caesars Sold

The deal between Caesars Entertainment, Turner Sports, and Bleacher Report could become more complicated in the coming months. In January 2019, billionaire investor Carl Icahn bought roughly a 10% stake in Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

Since then, Carl Icahn told Caesars’ executives he would like to see the company sold to another gaming company. Caesars still has significant debt from a leveraged buyout in 2007. From 2014 to 2016, the operations division of Caesars, CEOC, declared bankruptcy and underwent a reorganization.

A long bankruptcy battle with junior lienholders ensued, which eventually required Caesars to pay the shareholders $5 billion more than it originally planned (in the $18 billion reorganization plan). To make the company healthy, Carl Icahn thinks a merger or buyout is needed.

When it became known that Icahn wanted Caesars sold, the company’s shares went up 6%. It is a sign the company could receive a huge influx of cash that would makes it a bigger player in the international casino industry — and shore up its 50 US properties.

Caesars Buyout Talks

The story could play out a number of ways. First, Carl Icahn has until March 1 to determine whether he wants to attempt a takeover of the board of directors. As the onetime owner of Tropicana Resorts, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Stratosphere Holdings, and other casino companies, Carl Icahn knows the casino industry well. His leadership would make the company more profitable, though it might lead to more closings of domestic casinos.

Several other possibilities exist. Tilman Fertitta of Golden Nugget Entertainment submitted a merger plan late last year. Eldorado Resorts offered a buyout. Both were declined, but they might be resurrected if Carl Icahn is urging a sell. MGM Resorts, a top Caesars rival, also discussed a merger late last year. Any of the three plans might have favor with Icahn, so any of the proposed deals might happen. A fourth buyout partner might emerge, too.

Whatever the case, a buyout or merger might make the current deal with Turner Sports and Bleacher Report more lucrative.