Despite parent Disney being under pressure from dissident shareholders to spin off ESPN, the sports network announced an aggressive expansion of its betting content. It promised “a variety of new shows, updated roles and more content with in-depth analysis and coverage during the upcoming football season.”
Daily Wager host Doug Kezirian, an ESPN veteran, has been named ESPN sports betting insider. The idea is for Kezirian to capitalize on his sources in the wagering sphere and on his native expertise “to relay valuable information and nuances to the ESPN audience.” He will continue to be based in Las Vegas, despite appearing on more network programs and digital platforms. Kezirian’s profile on ESPN radio will be raised, during both the collegiate and NFL football seasons. He will also contribute several betting columns per week to ESPN.com, including last-minute pigskin counseling, as well as football picks on the weekend.
Relative ESPN newcomer and Sports Betting Analyst Tyler Fulghum inherits Kezirian’s hosting chair on Daily Wager, will continue contributing to SportsCenter and NBA Today. Fellow analyst Joe Fortenbaugh has re-upped with the network and will remain on Daily Wager and other shows, as well as “adding additional responsibilities to his portfolio,” including a podcast that will debut in January.
Fortenbaugh’s is not the only new program. Sports Betting Analyst Erin Dolan will get a Monday-slotted, Snapchat-based show, Bet with Erin Dolan, in addition to her ongoing digital and social media roles. She’ll also continue as a guest on Monday Tailgate, as well as supply analysis for Daily Wager, SportsCenter, Bet and This Just In.
Former football quarterback, Playboy pinup and current Sports Betting Analyst Anita Marks gets further exposure with a weekly sports-betting program on ESPN Radio Los Angeles, running from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Pacific time. She’ll double that with The Anita Marks Show on ESPN New York Radio, plus frequent appearances on Bet and Daily Wager. Bet airs three times weekly during football season and Daily Wager five times.
Beloved SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt will parlay his “Winners” segment into a weekly Friday column. Other enlarged roles will go to Betting Industry Reporter David Purdum (who will complement his “Notable Bets” column with betting-focused feature stories), and to SportsCenter commentator and analysand ‘Stanford’ Steve Coughlin as well as Research Producer Chris “The Bear” Fallica (whose Wednesday podcast will be reinstated, complementing their Thursday game-picks column).
Finally (for the moment), one of ESPN’s newest talent signings, wagering analyst Liz Loza will break down NFL prop bets for a weekly column. Both regular gameplay and fantasy football will be her remit.
“Fans are craving sports betting content, and ahead of and during football season we want to provide it to them,” said ESPN’s Scott Clark, vice president of fantasy and sports betting content. “We have added some talented minds to the diverse and well-respected industry experts we already have, and are implementing new creative ideas into the mix. Now we’re just ready to watch it all unfold starting with football season.”