ESPN and DraftKings May Seal a Historical Deal

At the end of August, ESPN announced that it was interested in joining the sports betting market by selling its brand to sportsbook operators like Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings. The speculated license price was $3 billion, according to a media report based on sources that were not named. Now, Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN seems to be on the edge of sealing an exclusive deal with DraftKings. The two parties had already signed a co-exclusive deal in 2020. However, the new partnership would significantly help the family-oriented company to actually dive head-first into the profitable industry. 

DraftKings’s Shares Went Up 8.5% 

The buzz created by the new rumors of a potential partnership between the two giants caused the sportsbook’s shares to go up 8.5%, reaching $17.41 in extended after-hours trading. On the same day when the rumors were out, Disney’s shares dropped 0.7% in extended trading, reaching $100.10 after closing 0.4% lower during standard trading hours. 

While DraftKings spoke about the “great, long-standing” relationship it had established with ESPN over the years, they did not make any comments on the topic, explaining the company does not comment on their talks with other companies. The deal is expected to be a massive and exclusive one that should feature shows and potential odds that will be integrated into game broadcasts. ESPN also chose not to issue any public statement regarding rumors of a new partnership agreement as of now. 

ESPN Is No Stranger to the Sports Gambling World 

Calling itself “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” ESPN is the leading multimedia sports entertainment company with a portfolio of multimedia sports assets counting 50+ businesses. The company is no stranger to sports gambling investments. Shows like Daily Wager and previous deals with DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment that integrated links to the sportsbook straight into ESPN’s platform are proof of ESPN’s interest in the industry. In September, Disney’s chief executive officer Bob Chapek spoke about his vision to create closer ties with consumers, mentioning the ESPN partnership as an important means of accomplishing that. He further explained that sports betting was something that their younger audience under the age of 35 was expected to incorporate into their sports-related lifestyle. Chapek also explained that while ESPN would never accept bets, it could offer sports aficionados “the ability to have a frictionless sports betting potential” while not being forced to have several screens simultaneously opened.

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