Disney to Move into Sports Betting

When you think of Disney, placing a bet on who is going to win in the weekend NFL fixtures doesn’t come into your head. Well, it does now as the company are planning to expand into the sports betting market.

The announcement came during their Q4 2021 earnings call. It’s a bit of a surprise because Disney have long disassociated themselves with gambling. So much in fact that they campaigned against sports gambling being legalized in Florida.

Bob Chapek is the CEO of Disney, and he says the company has now decided this is the way forward. To achieve this aim, they will look form partnerships with third parties.

One of the reasons that this move is being taken is the increase in the numbers subscribing to ESPN+. That’s been a 66% increase over the past fiscal year. When it came to the most-watched broadcasts on TV networks owned by Disney, 90% of them were sports events.

“We have been looking to get into gambling in a bigger way and ESPN is a perfect platform for this,” said Chapek.

Another reason is that Disney has a five-year rights agreement with the NFL. Now that they have the streaming rights for Monday Football fixtures, then why not head into the world of sports betting? “Let’s just say that our fans are really interested in sports betting. Let’s say that our partners with the leagues are interested in sports betting, so we’re interested in sports betting,” said the CEO.

It’s an area that has seen great growth in recent years. An increasing number of US states have been legalizing sports betting. It’s mainly about making money from tax revenue. States see others receiving huge amounts, so want to get on the bandwagon. It seems Disney have that idea now with their CEO talking about “not insignificant revenue implications.”

Disney don’t go into anything without first carrying out plenty of research. That’s been happening for a while now and they have made one important discovery. The stigma attached to gambling has fallen from levels 10 or 20 years ago.

There is still the worry that there will be criticism of going into the sports betting business. What will those who spend hours watching ‘Frozen’ and ‘Austin and Ally’ for years on end think of all of this. Research has shown that doing so won’t lead to people deserting the brand.

Their CEO says that they will now look to pursue the sports betting business “aggressively.” They will put plenty of effort into all of this. After all, they don’t want to end up with a Mickey Mouse sports betting site, do they? Getting Ebenezer Scrooge to place some bets might be a tough task.