Michael Jordan takes stake in betting site DraftKings

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 03 2020 09:40 AM

NEW YORK - Former basketball superstar Michael Jordan has taken an equity stake in online betting site DraftKings and will serve as a special advisor to the board, the company announced Wednesday.

Jordan, chairman and owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, will garner an unspecified stake in the online sports gambling company.

In exchange he will provide "strategic and creative input.... on company strategy, product development, inclusion, equity and belonging" and other initiatives, DraftKings said.

Established in 2012, DraftKings initially focused on fantasy sports before expanding into digital sports gambling in 2018 following a favorable ruling in the US Supreme Court for online betting.

Some $13 billion was bet on sports events in the United States in 2019 following moves to legalize the practice in several states, according to the website Legal Sports Betting.

Major sports leagues, which had long opposed sports betting, have shifted their positions in recent years. This group includes the National Basketball League, which has a partnership with DraftKings.

DraftKings, which went public on the Nasdaq earlier this year, did not respond to a query from AFP about the size of Jordan's holding.

An NBA Hall of Fame inductee, Jordan was a six-time most valuable player in the NBA championship and has been a titan in American sports for decades.

Nike's Jordan brand garnered $3.6 billion in sales last year.

"Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur," said Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder and chief executive.

Shares of DraftKings gained on the announcement, closing at $39.90, up 8.0 percent.


© Agence France-Presse