DraftKings closes in on partnership deal with ESPN

October 7, 2022

ESPN has sought to license its brand to major sports-betting companies for at least $3bn.

Walt Disney’s ESPN is nearing a new partnership with DraftKings, as reported by Bloomberg News. This deal would allow ESPN to capitalize on the sportsbook's knowledge and customer base in the world of legalized sports betting.

News of the potential deal caused DraftKings shares to soar by 9% on Thursday. The company declined to comment when asked about the rumors, but did refer to its “long-standing standing relationship with ESPN."

ESPN has been looking to license its brand to major sports betting companies for at least $3bn over the past several years, to take advantage of the growing online betting industry. DraftKings would give them inroads into the sports betting industry, having reported a 26% stake of the overall US sports betting handle in May 2022.

This rumored deal comes after Disney CEO Bob Chapek reaffirmed his confidence in sports betting and ESPN last month. In an interview at Disney’s D23 event in Anaheim, Chapek said sports betting is what the company’s younger audience wanted “as part of their sports lifestyle.”

Chapek said that Disney was hard at work developing an ESPN sports betting app, and described the sports broadcaster as an essential asset to Disney. This rumored partnership with DraftKings does not rule out the possibility that ESPN will still create a unique sports betting app.

On Twitter, Chapek wrote: “We have a better understanding of ESPN's potential as a standalone business and another vertical for Disney to reach a global audience to generate ad and subscriber revenues.”

Disney holds a stake in DraftKings, which it acquired as part of its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox’s entertainment assets back in March 2019.


Product Spotlight


Things get unruly in the company of some fleecy characters in the new Konami Gaming’s new Unwooly Riches slot series.

The top 5 properties that changed Las Vegas

Regular Gaming America contributor Oliver Lovat joins Tim Poole on the Huddle to discuss his 5 properties that changed Las Vegas - giving every resorts an influence rating out of 10. The question is: do you agree?


Peter Schoenke - Sports betting is here... but fantasy sports keeps growing

Peter Schoenke joins Tim Poole on the Huddle to discuss all things fantasy sports. His brand, RotoWire, is at the intersection of the affiliate and fantasy worlds, generating revenue from subscriptions, providing APIs to operators and via affiliate marketing. We discuss:

Within the states of Florida and California, Tribal gaming finds itself in a fascinating position. In Florida, only the Seminole Tribe, and Hard Rock, can provide mobile sports betting, with continued legal challenges f...

Viewpoints: Discussing the use of player loyalty programs
Industry experts answer Gaming America's burning questions on all things related to Tribal operators and player loyalty programs, including Rymax, CasinoTrac, OIGA, Mohegan and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Sports betting regulation in Brazil: What can we expect?
Mattos Filho's Fabio Kujawski speaks to Gaming America about the uncertainty surrounding Brazil's roadmap to regulation and the need for a singular gaming authority.
Going private: Gaming's new standard?
A state of neo-IPO: Gaming America investigates, as more and more companies come off the public market.
Soloviev Group CEO: Moving to New York
The Soloviev Group, in collaboration with Mohegan, continues to wait on the NYGC for approval on its Freedom Plaza project. Gaming America spoke with Soloviev Group CEO Michael Hershman to learn more.