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DraftKings nears “large new partnership” with ESPN

DraftKings is closing in on a large new partnership with ESPN, according to people familiar with the matter.

espn draftkings partnership

Bloomberg News reported that the potential deal between the sports betting operator and Walt Disney Co’s ESPN will allow the broadcaster to capitalise on the growing wave of legalised sports betting in North America.

The report did not provide details of the financials or structure of the potential partnership, but shares in DraftKings jumped as much as 9.2% in premarket trading upon the news.

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

In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that ESPN has been looking to license its brand to major sports betting firms for at least $3bn over several years, in a bid to take advantage of the thriving online betting industry.

In a recent Bloomberg interview, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said: “We know that sports fans are craving not just more sports betting content, but they’re craving the ability to actually place bets in a seamless fashion from their online digital sports experiences.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek meanwhile has also recently spoken on the topic, saying: “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.”

Last month, DraftKings launched the Practice Safe Bets campaigna new responsible gambling initiative featuring ex-professional skater Tony Hawk and professional wrestler The Miz.

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