- Disney is now on board with sports gambling in a big way, according to CEO Bob Chapek.
- Chapek believes that sports betting will not hurt Disney’s image as a child-friendly company.
- Disney owns an 80% stake in ESPN, which will likely incorporate more gambling related shows in the future.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Disney, long an opponent of gambling in Florida, seems to be on board with sports betting moving forward.
After conducting extensive research on whether or not the company’s family-friendly image would be impacted by a move into sports betting and sports betting-related content, the company came to the conclusion that the monetary rewards for doing so were worth it.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek elaborated on their change of heart in a recent earnings call on Wednesday.
Speaking of sports betting, he opined that the desire for such content was simply Disney going where the market instructed them to go.
"It's driven by the consumer, particularly the younger consumer that will replenish the sports fans over time and their desire to have gambling as part of their sports experience," Chapek said. "As we follow the consumer...we have to seriously consider getting into gambling in a bigger way."
ESPN Will Trend Further Towards Gambling Content
Disney is a shareholder in ESPN, controlling 80% of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and ESPN has moved significantly toward gambling-related content.
It seems that ESPN’s success, as well as the success of live streaming sports via the Disney Bundle, drove much of Disney’s interest in sports betting.
"ESPN is a perfect platform for this," Chapek said of Disney’s future sports betting endeavors.
What this means is that online gambling fans may soon see full integration of sports betting with sports offerings. Chapek’s thesis is functionally that gambling simply isn’t regarded with the same moral judgments that it was 20 years ago, and ESPN’s programming could go a long way toward softening attitudes.
This is a remarkable about-face from Disney, which spent $20 million trying to keep Florida sports gambling free in 2018, in an attempt to keep their Orlando resorts kid-friendly.
If Disney is on board, who knows what the future holds for sports gambling - or even other kinds of online gambling.