- Walt Disney Company continues to expand betting assets
- DraftKings’ clout in the US continues to increase
- Disney still officially opposed to expanding sports betting
Walt Disney Company’s $71-billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney is now the owner of sports betting and daily fantasy sports brand DraftKings, which will bring ESPN and the operator under the same roof.
Disney Shifts Towards Sports Betting with DraftKings
A long-time opponent of online gambling, Disney is increasingly involved with various sports betting activities. While the company has been pouring millions to keep casinos in Florida from expanding, Disney’s ESPN is already airing the “Daily Wager,” a show dedicated to sports betting.
The acquisition of 21st Century Fox and by extension – a stake in DraftKings, reaffirms the sentiment that Disney is aware of the potential of the industry. This is a particularly auspicious moment for the company as ESPN and DraftKings will now be under the same roof.
In the meantime, Fox has been expanding its own betting assets. The company recently announced a joint-platform it is developing with Canadian gambling behemoth The Stars Group. Fox could potentially acquire up to 50% in TSG at a later stage.
Disney Had Its Sights on DraftKings for Years
Disney and ESPN wanted to seek closer ties with DraftKings as early as 2015, but regulatory uncertainty called off a potential $250-million deal. DraftKings hasn’t shied away at a potential courtship with Disney, either, with the company seeking ways to gain an edge over its main rival – FanDuel. It was back in 2016 when Fox also decided to mark down its investment by 60 percent.
Where Does Disney Draw the Line?
With the interesting relation forming between sports betting agencies and media companies, along with Disney, it’s curious to explore the company’s stance on betting contest.
Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, has reiterated on several occasions that the company is not interested in venturing in gambling contests of any sort. He had the following to say on the issue:
We’ll provide programming that will, I guess, be designed to enlighten people who are betting on sports. But that’s as far as we would go. And I think you’ll see more of it integrated in the programming, but we just don’t intend to go into the gambling business.
Meanwhile, DraftKings have been collaborating with Caesars, giving the brick-and-mortar casino & hotel brand access to the online platform of the betting agency and vice versa. Thanks to its partnership with Caesars, DraftKings is gaining more clout across the United States.