Disney close to DraftKings-ESPN tie-up

Disney-owned sportscaster ESPN is reportedly close to agreeing a partnership with sports betting company DraftKings.

According to Bloomberg, ESPN is closing in securing DraftKings as its exclusive betting partnership as part of a wider industry trend for sports broadcasters to integrate themselves more closely with gambling. 

Disney currently holds a stake in DraftKings, which it picked up as a part of its US$71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox in March 2019. The company also has a marketing deal with gambling firm Caesars Entertainment Inc. 

Previous reports from the Wall Street Journal and others said that Disney was looking to licence the ESPN brand to major sports betting companies at a value of at least US$3 billion over a number of years. 

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, ESPN chair Jimmy Pitaro said “We know that sports fans are craving not just more sports betting content, but they’re craving the ability to actually place bets in a seamless fashion from their online digital sports experiences.”

These were comments later reinforced by Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who told the outlet that “sports betting is a part of what our younger, say, under-35 sports audience is telling us they want as part of their sports lifestyle.”

Instead of partnering with existing gambling companies, other sportscasters like DAZN are taking a different approach to launch their own gambling brand. DAZN announced a beta launch for its DAZN Bet brand in the UK last month, with plans to roll out the platform internationally in the coming months.

Tags: Disney, ESPN

Most Recent