DraftKings drafts Michael Jordan
Sports betting firm's shares surge after basketball legend is announced as special advisor to its board
Shares in DraftKings were boosted after the leading US fantasy sports contest and sports betting provider announced it had added Michael Jordan as a special advisor to its board. In exchange for providing guidance and advice on company strategy, marketing and product development, the NBA legend will take an undisclosed equity interest in the company.
CEO Jason Robins said: “Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur. The strategic counsel and business acumen Michael brings to our board is invaluable, and I am excited to have him join our team.”
Jordan’s net worth is already estimated to be in region of $1.6bn (£1.2bn, €1.35bn). The 57 year-old is currently chairman and majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
DraftKings began trading publicly in April following a reverse merger with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. Through its association with Jordan, the company will hope to replicate the success enjoyed by Nike and its Jordan Brand, which generated more than $3.6bn in wholesale equivalent revenue in the 12 months to May 31.
The deal also follows 2019’s partnership between Papa John’s and Shaquille O’Neal which saw the basket baller player join the pizza chain’s board, purchase nine franchises and become the new face of its brand.
The deal has raised a few eyebrows, however, as Jordan has been very open about his past struggles with gambling addiction, most recently in the ESPN documentary series The Last Dance.
With Jordan’s assistance, DraftKings will hope to edge out its competitor FanDuel as sport returns to its full, post-Covid schedule − although both firms face the looming possibility of a 0.25 per cent levy on daily fantasy sports (DFS) being introduced by the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) in the near future.
DraftKings shares surged by as much as 13 per cent following the news. By early afternoon trading (EDT), the company stood up 3.93 per cent at $38.38. The company’s share price has more than doubled since it started trading five months ago.
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