ESPN BET launched with great fanfare on Tuesday afternoon.
The long-anticipated migration from Barstool Sportsbook to PENN Entertainment’s newest backing of the World Wide Leader’s foray into legal sports betting hit just before 4 p.m. ET as the app went live on various platforms for download in 17 U.S. states.
One of the most recognizable brands in sports quickly saw its sports betting platform jump to No. 1 in “Top Free Apps” on Apple.
ESPN BET came out just in time for a busy night of action as there were there college football games, 10 NBA contests, and 80 college basketball games, including ranked showdowns between Duke and Michigan State, and Kansas versus Kentucky.
Making a splash
PENN spent $1.5 million to partner with ESPN and offered the World Wide Leader another $500 million in stock options in hopes of using the popular television and online brand to challenge FanDuel and DraftKings in several U.S. markets.
It didn’t take long for ESPN Bet to make a splash with a lot of people on social media. The sportsbook took over the accounts from SportsNation, an ESPN entity that gave ESPN Bet 10.5 million followers instantly.
The rebrand, which was announced Nov. 9 on X, Instagram, and Facebook, occurred Tuesday, just in time to push out the new app and get people talking about ESPN Bet.
ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt, who has more than two million followers on X, posted a promo with him on it for the ESPN BET bonus offer.
Reaction from the public
There were mixed reviews on PENN’s latest platform.
Many players were thrilled to take advantage of ESPN BET’s bonus offer of $250 when making a wager. Some liked the refreshed look, which features ESPN going away from its patented red color scheme for a standout green ensemble.
Some users thought it felt too much like Barstool, the same platform, just a different name. Others complained about the lack of wagering options.
There were some isolated issues, like users who couldn’t get the app to immediately show up in stores or deposit easily at first.
However, there were no major outages or problems reported in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia.