Disney Prepares Sports Betting Push

    • Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the organization will be more 'aggressive' in sports betting, namely through its ESPN property.
    • ESPN may license its name to another sportsbook.

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After slow-playing its hand for years, Disney is ready to ratchet up its presence in the sports betting industry.

CEO Bob Chapek, speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor conference, recently said that the Mouse will be more “aggressive” in sports betting, namely by exploring partnerships for ESPN.

  • ESPN has so far avoided operating its own sportsbook, but is reportedly seeking around $3 billion in a multiyear deal to attach its name to an existing sportsbook.
  • Sports Illustrated struck a deal along those lines with 888 Holdings, which included the magazine’s parent company Authentic Brands gaining a 4.9% stake in 888’s U.S. business.
  • The U.S. sports betting market could grow to $37 billion by 2025, according to investment manager Ark Invest.

Disney’s broadcast rights include NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Wimbledon, PGA Tour, and LaLiga. The company is spreading its sports broadcasts beyond ESPN to ABC and Hulu.

Chapek also said that subscription growth had tapered due to pandemic-related production delays, a slow rollout of a new streaming product in Latin America, and the end of a promotion in India. 

Disney had nearly 174 million subscribers across its services — 14.9 million for ESPN+ — at the end of the second quarter.