ESPN is seriously considering expanding into sports betting with this new partnership.
- ESPN confirmed reports that it has been in talks with sports-betting company DraftKings.
- Speaking at Axios’ BFD Summit, Chairman Jimmy Pitaro says it wants to expand its brand equity and potentially open a partnership with the second-largest sports betting company in the U.S.
- This could make DraftKings into ESPN’s official name-brand partner.
- “Everything’s been on the table. We’ve been contemplating a variety of scenarios in terms of that next step for us in that space, including more link integrations and promotion partnerships,” says Pitaro
- “We know that our brand has a ton of credibility, a ton of trust. We are contemplating whether we should leverage our brand in that capacity,” he says.
Why it’s News
As we previously reported, ESPN and DraftKings were in negotiations for an exclusive partnership in early October. Reports claimed that the companies were close to signing a deal that would make DraftKings the official partner of the network—even allowing the company to take on the ESPN name.
DraftKings declined to comment on the nature of both companies’ conversations.
“When I talk about our brand, I’m really talking about the trust and the credibility that that would convey to a sports fan. Or a fan that’s looking to place a bet,” says Pitaro.
The deal is a major boost for DraftKings, which has seen a year of stock market volatility despite an uptake in demand for sports betting.
“It’s a momentous time for dealmaking at ESPN. The company just secured, alongside Fox, a rights extension for the Big 12 conference through 2028 for a reported $2.28 billion. Looking ahead, ESPN and Amazon Prime remain the front runners to pick up Pac-12 rights, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports. Pitaro said coming out of the pandemic, it’s ‘probably our most impactful string (of rights deals) in our 43-year history,’” says Axios.