DraftKings Hires Amazon Exec Credited with ‘Thursday Night Football’

Posted on: January 25, 2024, 10:33h. 

Last updated on: January 27, 2024, 11:04h.

On Thursday, DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG) announced the hiring of Marie Donoghue as chief business and growth officer.

Former Amazon executive Marie Donoghue. She joined DraftKings as chief business and growth officer. (Image: Barrett Sports Media)

Donoghue joins the gaming company from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), where she was one of the architects who brought Thursday Night Football to Amazon Prime’s streaming platform. That marked the first time one of the NFL’s primetime productions went to an exclusively streaming format.

In Donoghue’s previous tenure as Vice President of Amazon’s U.S. Sports Content & Partnerships, her contributions were crucial in positioning Amazon and Prime Video as a major player in sports media rights,” according to a statement issued by DraftKings. “Notably, she led the groundbreaking acquisition and production of Prime Video’s Emmy Award-winning offering of Thursday Night Football, marking the NFL’s first all-streaming, season-long package.”

Before joining Amazon, Donoghue was with ESPN for 18 years, where she rose to executive vice president of global business and content strategy.

Some Amazon/DraftKings Symmetry

Interestingly, Amazon and DraftKings have a relationship through Thursday Night Football.  The gaming company was selected by the e-commerce giant as the official sportsbook and iGaming sponsor of the NFL broadcast.

DraftKings provides pregame and live odds for Thursday Night Football broadcasts as part of that relationship. Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit are in the booth for those games, while Kaylee Hartung is the sideline reporter. An agreement between Amazon and DirecTV allows those games to be broadcast in public establishments, such as bars, restaurants, and retail sportsbooks.

In her role at DraftKings, “Donoghue will work closely with existing teams to uncover new, sustainable growth opportunities and further solidify DraftKings’ commitment to excellence in product and customer experience. She will also be charged with spearheading various internal processes,” according to the statement.

In a 2021 interview, DraftKings cofounder and CEO Jason Robins said his company has “ambitions to one day be like an Amazon.”

Donoghue’s Role Sparks Interest

DraftKings announcing the hiring of Donoghue comes amid speculation that the gaming company could be nearing a partnership with Barstool Sports. It’s unclear what role, if any, she’d play if those two firms work together.

More than likely, Donoghue will be integral in DraftKings’ capitalization of new growth opportunities. Those could include more agreements with professional sports leagues, broadcast and streaming opportunities, and more.

“We are delighted to welcome Marie Donoghue to our executive team and the immense wealth of experience she brings as a highly-regarded leader and trailblazer within our industry,” said Robins in the statement. “Marie’s exceptional track record speaks for itself, and she is poised to be a transformative force in our company’s future success.”