DraftKings and ESPN are working on a new partnership, according to reports. ESPN is aiming to increase its foothold in the legal sports betting space, with DraftKings being the catalyst. Details of the actual deal have not been released but a DraftKings ESPN joint venture could have major implications on the sports betting entertainment market.
DraftKings Meets ESPN
The deal, reported by Bloomberg, is said to pave the way for ESPN to capitalize on the growing betting industry. ESPN has already been embracing betting with its live shows discussing odds in primetime.
Rumors of the deal have led to DraftKings shares increasing 8.8% in just a few days. Investors are already anticipating this partnership to be beneficial for the sports betting giant. Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Brian Egger and Geeta Ranganathan believe this partnership makes strategic sense due to the companies overlapping user base.
“Licensing EPSN’s brand to a sportsbook and integrating bet odds in broadcasts could help both companies widen their audiences,” said Bloomberg analysts.
ESPN’s parent company Walt Disney has been looking at the sports betting industry as the future for some time. This partnership will further increase the company’s market share in the sports betting realm.
Disney’s Sports Betting Push
ESPN is a major commodity in the sports realm and the entire sports industry is headed toward sports betting. Disney is aiming to cash in on the booming market with its ESPN brand. This includes aligning the company with operators like DraftKings.
“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,” said Bob Chapek, CEO of Walt Disney.
The capacity in which ESPN will be used for sports betting is yet unknown. A potential sportsbook was long rumored, however, Chapek denied that this was a goal for the company. Instead, ESPN is looking for a partner to aid them in entering the sports gambling arena.
“We at ESPN have the ability to do that. Now we’re going to need a partner to do that, because we’re never going to be a book, that’s never in the cards for the Walt Disney Company,” said Chapek to CNBC. “But at the same time, to be able to partner with a well-respected third party can do that for us.”
With the recent reports of the DraftKings deal, it is likely that ESPN has found its sports betting partner. The future of the betting industry could change with such a major company entering sports betting.