LeBron James Joins DraftKings, Will Dish Weekly Football Picks Next Year

Posted on: January 31, 2024, 12:13h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2024, 12:35h.

LeBron James is teaming up with DraftKings.

LeBron James DraftKings Sportsbook
LeBron James does his pregame ceremonial chalk throw, but in this marketing illustration, the powder forms the DraftKings crown. DraftKings this week announced an advertising partnership with the four-time NBA champion. (Image: DraftKings)

One of the most recognizable global sports superstars, James, 39, is in the later stages of his storied NBA career that includes four titles, four MVP awards, and a record 20 NBA All-Star appearances.

DraftKings, a leading sportsbook in the US with an estimated 35% market share, spends heavily on marketing and celebrity endorsements. This week’s announcement that DraftKings has snagged James is presumably one of its costliest endorsement deals yet.

James broke the news on his X account with an image of him performing his traditional pregame routine of throwing chalk powder into the air, but the cloud in the marketing promo forms the DraftKings crown logo.

“Football season just got A LOT more fun. Let’s go!” James tweeted.

DraftKings reps told Casino.org that James will make weekly picks on the NFL allotment of games next season. James, an Akron native, has been a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan but has also supported the Cleveland Browns.

‘One King to Another’

Last summer, DraftKings unveiled the new marketing tagline, “The Crown is Yours.” The advertising slogan came ahead of ESPN Bet’s launch in 17 states, which is running an aggressive marketing campaign and continually reaches millions of sports fans via ESPN broadcasts.

DraftKings says bringing on “King James” is a most fitting partnership. The DraftKings Sportsbook X account tweeted, “From one King to another, welcome to the team, LeBron.”

Jason Robins, co-founder and CEO of DraftKings, said it’s “an absolute honor” to sign LeBron to the sportsbook’s endorsement roster.   

Welcoming one of the most influential and greatest athletes of all time, LeBron James, to the DraftKings family is an absolute honor and privilege,” said Robins. “We look forward to working with a passionate sports fan who shares the same competitive mindset that echoes throughout the walls at DraftKings while delivering exciting engagement opportunities to our customers and his loyal fanbase for years to come.”

DraftKings reps say James will help support key football initiatives “through content creation, such as weekly football picks.”

Market Leaders

DraftKings and FanDuel control about 70% of the legal sports betting market in the US. Despite introductions and extravagant marketing spends from Fanatics and Penn Entertainment’s ESPN Bet, analysts say the two powerhouses have managed to fend off the competition.

Stifel analyst Jeffrey Stantial wrote last month that DraftKings cited “no immediate impact from the ESPN Bet launch” and only sees “potential for the offering to grow the market.”

DraftKings has long used celebrities and sports icons to market its sports betting and iGaming business. But unlike previous Super Bowls, DraftKings isn’t running a spot during this year’s big game in Las Vegas.

BetMGM is ponying up $7 million to run a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl LVIII on February 11. BetMGM’s big game commercial stars NFL and NHL legends Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, and Hollywood A-lister Vince Vaughn.

FanDuel is running a Super Bowl ad, too. The DraftKings rival is again using former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski, who will kick a 25-yard field goal live with $10 million in free betting credits for customers on the line.