Disney Now Part Owner of DraftKings After 20th Century Fox Acquisition

Posted on: May 20, 2019, 05:57h. 

Last updated on: May 20, 2019, 05:57h.

The Walt Disney Company is now a part owner of DraftKings.

Disney acquired Fox’s stake in DraftKings, a fantasy sports company that started online and retail sportsbooks last year. (Image: Philly.com)

When the global media giant announced its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox two months ago, it also received Fox’s share of the daily fantasy sports company, which started its own sportsbook in August.

The news was first reported by John Wall Street, an online sports business newsletter. Randy Crader, a DraftKings spokesman, confirmed to Casino.org that an unnamed Disney subsidiary now owns Fox’s stake in the company as a result of the acquisition.

Fox acquired its stake in DraftKings nearly four years ago as part of $300 million round of venture funding that also included buy-ins from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Madison Square Garden, and The Kraft Group.

The news of Disney’s position comes after Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger downplayed any notion of his company getting directly involved in gambling.

We’ll provide programming that will, I guess, be designed to enlighten people who are betting on sports,” Iger said on Disney’s second quarter conference call with analysts held on May 8. “But that’s as far as we would go. And I think you’ll see more of it integrated in the programming, but we just don’t intend to go into the gambling business.”

Less than a week after Iger’s proclamation, ESPN announced a partnership with Caesars Entertainment that includes ESPN getting a studio along the Las Vegas strip and Caesars becoming the official odds supplier for the sports media giant.

Disney owns an 80 percent stake in ESPN.

Partnerships Already Established

Whether there are plans for the three parties to work together on any initiative remains uncertain. However, separately, all three are working together.

In February, DraftKings and Caesars reached an agreement for a multi-state partnership. The deal grants DraftKings market access for its online gaming products in US states where Caesars runs casinos. In addition, Caesars, which received an equity stake as a result, also serves as the official casino resort partner for DraftKings.

The agreement still lets Caesars offer its own branded sports betting and online gaming applications.

DraftKings currently has a mobile sports betting app available only in New Jersey and retail sportsbooks in the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. and the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Miss.

An ESPN representative reiterated to Casino.org that the network has no interest in developing its own betting app.

FOX Sports Plans Betting App

On the same day as Disney’s analyst call, Fox Sports., which was spun off from 21st Century Fox prior to the Disney merger, announced a partnership with The Stars Group to launch sports-related apps under the Fox brand.

One of the apps would be a free-play game allowing people to win monetary prizes for correctly predicting the outcome of sporting events. The other app, to be called FOX Bet, would allow people to place bets on sporting events where the activity is legal and the app is licensed.

As part of the deal, FOX Sports, now part of Fox Corporation along with FOX News and the FOX Network, paid $236 million for a nearly 5 percent stake in online gaming company.