Is Disney Wagering on a BIG Expansion into Sports Betting?

Updated on October 18, 2021
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This Gambling News Flash article looks at Disney & ESPN as they look to get in on all the sports betting action.

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What does Disney have to do with sports betting?

The ultimate goal in all this? Disney wants to use legal sports betting in order to promote and strengthen the struggling ESPN+ streaming service.

But just last year in a Legal Sports Report Article, Disney CEO stated…

“I don’t see The Walt Disney Company, certainly in the near term, getting involved in the business of gambling, in effect, by facilitating gambling in any way,” said Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Company. “Getting into the business of gambling, I rather doubt it.”

But new CEO, Bob Chapek took over for Bob Iger last year and the company had a sudden change of tone. Disney has not been thrilled with the idea of jumping into the gambling world in the past, but now feel that legal sports betting can bring in a younger audience and improve overall service.

CEO Bob Chapek hinted that Disney intends to break into the sports betting industry…

“Strategically, what sports betting gives us is the ability to appeal to a much younger sports fan viewer, who can be very strong in their affinity for those sports,” said Chapek.

In August, Disney was in talks to license its ESPN brand to casino operator Caesars and DraftKings. Nothing is finalized, and the deal sources valued at $3 billion could fall through, but the move is an indication of adding gambling to the Disney franchise.

Disney, ESPN Explore Sports Betting Options

Pretty much everyone is getting into sports betting these days. Needless to say, it’s no surprise that the Worldwide Leader in Sports wants a taste.

There had been rumors this past week that they were pulling away ESPN+ from its Disney streaming service in preparation for shifting ESPN more into gambling. Of course, if they are moving into betting, they’ll want to set up clear boundaries between ESPN and the 21+ activities, and the young audience that’s into Disney content.

For now, it’s unclear where ESPN is going next but a report on CNBC indicated that they are “pursuing further value in sports betting”. ESPN’s ratings have been in decline over the last few years as other streaming services have popped up.

Moving into the sports betting space would likely give their brand a big shot in the arm and push revenues to new heights. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before they partner with a betting brand or create one themselves.

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