Disney doubts overshadow DraftKings’ ESPN partnership

Closing the deal

Daily fantasy sports operator signs deal with sports media giant but $250m Disney investment appears to be on ice

DraftKings has signed an exclusive marketing deal with ESPN, but reports suggest the daily fantasy sports operator will no longer be receiving a $250m investment form ESPN parent company Disney. [private]

The exclusive relationship includes branding and promotional opportunities across multiple ESPN and DraftKings’ platforms, including integration into digital properties and television programming.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said he was “thrilled to be working closely” with ESPN and together would provide fans with “the most robust, diverse and comprehensive fantasy sports experience.”

The partnership comes two months after reports that ESPN parent company Disney was on the brink of investing $250m for a 20% stake in the Boston-based firm and in return, DraftKings would commit to spending more than $500m across various ESPN platforms over the next three years.

But while reports from Re/code suggest that Disney investment is now off the table, the partnership between DraftKings and ESPN looks set to be lucrative for both parties.

“ESPN and DraftKings share a history of innovating and advancing fantasy sports to serve this passionate fan base,” ESPN president John Skipper, said.

“DraftKings is a dynamic company – deeply connected to its fans – and we’re excited to have them on board as our official daily fantasy sports offering.”

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