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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Disney Stock Rises as Iger Retakes Helm

  • Markets reacted favorably to Disney's dramatic Sunday night announcement.
  • Iger will face key decisions on marquee sports rights.
Walt Disney logo at pitch level inside stadium
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Disney’s shocking Sunday night move has sparked optimism among investors.

The company’s stock price jumped around 6.3% on Monday following the announcement that CEO Bob Chapek had been ousted and replaced by the company’s longtime chief executive Bob Iger.

Under Chapek, who took over from Iger in February 2020, Disney bought high-value sports rights to bolster ESPN+ and ESPN’s linear channels.

  • In March 2021, Disney secured rights to 23 regular-season NFL games, “Monday Night Football,” one exclusive game per year on ESPN+, and a place in the Super Bowl rotation in a 10-year deal reportedly worth $2.7 billion per year.
  • That same month, it reached a seven-year deal worth around $400 million annually for a top-tier package of NHL games. The company has booked around $90 million in ad sales for the current NHL season.
  • Disney’s networks will continue to broadcast Formula 1 with a three-year deal worth a reported $225 million — a 17-fold increase over its previous deal.

Streaming Questions

Chapek set a lofty goal of reaching up to 260 million streaming subscribers by September 2024. That plan hit some turbulence when Disney failed to renew streaming rights to the Indian Premier League — more than a third of Disney+ subscribers live in India.

Iger will have to decide how aggressively to pursue two major sports rights packages: NFL Sunday Ticket and the NBA, the latter of which it currently shares with TNT of Discovery Warner Bros.

The NBA may seek a deal worth triple its current nine-year pact which pays $2.6 billion annually.

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