Walt Disney-owned ESPN is nearing a large new partnership with DraftKings, according to Bloomberg. DraftKings shares rose as much as 8.8% on Friday. after falling as much as 39% this year.

From Bloomberg:

A tie-up between the two companies “makes strategic sense,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Brian Egger and Geetha Ranganathan. “Licensing EPSN’s brand to a sports book and integrating bet odds in broadcasts could help both companies widen their audiences.”

ESPN declined to comment. A spokesperson for DraftKings said it doesn’t discuss conversations it has with other companies, while noting it has “a great, long standing relationship with ESPN.”

ESPN has already invested heavily in sports gambling, though it has steered clear of taking actual bets. The broadcaster has betting-related shows such as Daily Wager and marketing deals with DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment Inc. where links to the sportsbooks are integrated into ESPN’s website. Disney also acquired a stake in DraftKings as part of its acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019.

In a recent interview, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro told Bloomberg that the sports media giant wants to “eliminate friction” for bettors.

“We know that sports fans are craving not just more sports betting content, but they’re craving the ability to actually place bets in a seamless fashion from their online digital sports experiences,” Pitaro said.

Disney has been searching for a major sports betting partner for ESPN for more than a year, seeking as much as $3 billion for an extended deal.
Read more here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ith-draftkings