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Disney Pursues ESPN Sports Betting Deal to Profit from Gambling_ The Future Party

Disney to roll the dice on sports betting

Disney Pursues ESPN Sports Betting Deal to Profit from Gambling_ The Future Party
Disney + ESPN // Illustration by Kate Walker

Disney to roll the dice on sports betting

The Future. Disney is planning on getting in on the now-legal sports-betting market, hoping to conjure up a new revenue stream. Expect ESPN+ to add an in-app sports-betting feature shortly in order to woo subscribers and make up for losses from cable cord-cutting.

Magic bets
It’s official: Disney wants to place its bets on sports betting.

  • While the company initially said that it would probably avoid cashing in on the trend, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on an earnings call that it plans on getting in on the sports gambling craze.
  • The Mouse House plans on using ESPN as its “entry point” into the space.
  • It’s talking with betting operators like DraftKings (which it owns a stake in), BetGM, and Caesars about a possible partnership.

Gamblin’ Goofy
Originally, Disney was going to avoid sports betting to avoid tarnishing its clean family image. But a few things have changed…

  • After the Supreme Court ruled sports betting legal in 2018, every major sports league got on board with the plan.
  • The “gamification” of everything has turned the idea of sports betting into just another video game, like Fortnite (jury’s still out if this is a good thing).

But still, Chapek knows that some may worry about gambling harming Disney’s clean “image,” to which he hedged concerns with: “We have done substantial research in terms of the impact […] and what we’re finding is that there is very significant insulation. It actually strengthens the brand of ESPN when you have a betting component, and it has no impact on the Disney brand.”

 

The potential revenue must be fantastic.