Entercom wants to expand its sports betting programming, and it’s tapping into the Chicago market to do so.
The radio giant will launch “The Bet 105.9 FM-HD2” in Chicago. It will be a part of the BetQL Audio Network, which is a CBS Sports Radio affiliate.
The station will “feature national sports talk and sports betting programming heard across Entercom’s robust portfolio of sports stations, as well as the BetQL Audio Network,” according to the company.
Chicago sports fans may be familiar with Joe Ostrowski, who hosts the night show on 670 The Score. Ostrowski also hosts BetQL Daily, which will be featured on the new channel, with Ross Tucker.
The station will also feature “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley.
The Bet will be a digital subchannel, so Chicagoans will need an HD radio receiver in order to listen.
Entercom has already made similar moves in Los Angeles and Denver, and Chicago is its next target.
Currently, the HD2 channel carries a simulcast of WBBM 780, another Entercom station. WBBM is the radio home of the Chicago Bears.
There is no shortage of sports talk radio programming in Chicago, and shows will occasionally discuss betting-related topics.
However, a station primarily focused on sports betting is a first.
Why was Chicagoland a target?
The Illinois sports betting market is booming, and the Chicagoland sports bettors are obviously a big reason for the success.
Illinois recently passed $2 billion in sports bets since inception, and that arrow is pointing up.
The Land of Lincoln took in $581.6 million in sports bets in January, an all-time state record. That month, Illinois only trailed New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania in sports betting handle.
Eventually, the state could be witnessing $1 billion per month in handle.
With that in mind, it makes sense for Entercom to target the Chicago market for the same reason that sportsbook operators would: It’s a populous area with a passion for sports.
Chicago is the biggest US city in which online sports betting is legal. Of course, New York City is larger and close to New Jersey, though online sports betting is not yet legal in NY.
Sports betting ads common on Chicago sports radio
The two primary sports talk radio stations in Chicago are ESPN Radio 1000 and 670 The Score. The Score, as previously mentioned, is owned by Entercom.
Listen to the programming throughout the day, and you’ll hear ads from just about every sports betting operator in Illinois.
In fact, Entercom has a strategic partnership deal with FanDuel, though it is not an exclusive rights deal.
While DraftKings has emerged as the Illinois market handle leader, FanDuel has led all sportsbooks in revenue the past three months.