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ESPN signed deals with Caesars Entertainment Inc (NASDAQ: CZR) and DraftKings Inc (NASDAQ: DKNG) to strengthen its position in the growing sports betting market.
What Happened: ESPN, a Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) subsidiary, signed two separate deals that include co-exclusive link integrations across ESPN digital platforms. These links will connect fans to sportsbooks run by Caesar’s and DraftKings.
“Our new agreements with Caesars and DraftKings collectively represent the next significant milestone for ESPN to diversify our exposure and deepen our commitment in the sports betting space, said Mike Morrison, VP of Business Development & Innovation at ESPN.
ESPN becomes the exclusive odds provider and co-exclusive link out provider to Caesars. Caesars will also become a sponsor on ESPN Fantasy products. Caesars is the largest casino operator in the United States.
DraftKings becomes the exclusive daily fantasy sports provider with ESPN. DraftKings will get daily fantasy sports segments on ESPN’s premier studio shows.
“We are very excited to be expanding our relationship with ESPN to include deeper integration of both our sports betting and daily fantasy sports offerings across their platforms,” said Jason Robins, Co-Founder and CEO of DraftKings.
Why It’s Important: DraftKings has operations in 15 regulated U.S. and global markets. The company has partnerships with the NFL, MLB and PGA and is an authorized gaming operator of the NBA, MLB and PGA.
“With the addition of DraftKings, we are bringing together the sports media leader with two of the top brands and best products in the segment,” Morrison said.
ESPN is the recognized leader of sports content and news on television and the web in the United States. In 2019, ESPN had 24,749 live events and 83,340 total live hours of studio and event programming.
“ESPN’s reach amongst sports fans is unparalleled, and the start of NFL is the perfect time for DraftKings to be launching this integration,” Robins said.
Fox Corp. once owned a 6% stake in DraftKings. The stake, which Fox paid $160 million for in 2015, is now owned by Disney after their acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The stake, which is over 18 million shares and represents around 6% of DraftKings, is worth more than $700 million today.
Price Action: DraftKings shares are up 10% on the news hitting $45.52. Caesars shares are up 6% to $53.09. Disney shares traded flat at $132.07.
The set of The Daily Wager at the ESPN Las Vegas Studio (Photo by Al Powers / ESPN Images)
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