Disney announces $250m DraftKings investment

7 April 2015

Entertainment company Walt Disney Co. has announced plans to invest $250 million (€228.8 million) in US fantasy sports operator DraftKings.

According to various reports, sources close to the deal suggest the investment will value DraftKings at approximately $900 million.

Under the agreement, DraftKings has committed to large advertising spend across ESPN, a global sports broadcasting operation jointly owned by Disney and the Hearst Corporation.

Rival fantasy sports operator FanDuel will be able to continue advertising across ESPN, but DraftKings will hold the exclusive rights to premium positions on each platform.

Neither ESPN nor DraftKings were willing to comment on the deal.

Meanwhile, DraftKings has also opted to extend its partnership with North America’s Major League Baseball (MLB).

Under the agreement, the terms of which were not disclosed, DraftKings will become the official daily fantasy game of the MLB.

DraftKings will offer co-branded MLB daily fantasy games, in addition to unique games and fan experiences.

Games will be promoted by MLB across its various media properties such as the MLB.com website, the MLB.TV streaming service and its official social media platforms.

DraftKings will also become an official sponsor of showpiece MLB events such as the All-Star Week.

In addition, DraftKings will link up with participating MLB franchises to create market-specific ballpark experiences for supporters.

DraftKings first linked up with the MLB in 2013 in what was described by both parties as an “industry-first” partnership.

“Expanding our exclusive partnership with DraftKings will bring new and exciting ways for fans, particularly younger fans, to play daily fantasy baseball,” MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) executive vice-president business, Kenny Gersh, said.

“DraftKings has established itself as a trusted leader through a high quality fan experience in a rapidly changing space and we are happy to continue to have them on board.”

Jason Robins, chief executive officer of DraftKings, added: “Two years ago, MLB and DraftKings signed the first league deal in daily fantasy history, and we are excited to deepen that ground-breaking relationship through this new, league wide, exclusive partnership.

“MLB has long been at the forefront of embracing new technologies to create superior fan experiences, and DraftKings couldn’t be happier to partner to continue that tradition of innovation.”

DraftKings boasts a plethora of partnerships across the professional sports sector, ranging from franchises within the North American NBA basketball competition, to various outfits from the NFL American football league.

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