Lately, the number of states with legalized betting and online gambling has been on the steady rise. Even more states are expected to be added to the list soon. With legalization, came the rise of the popularity of gambling and sports wagering as well as the development of the whole industry. At the moment, some of the biggest companies in the US are ready to get involved. Among them, the entertainment juggernaut, Disney.
More Gambling Content Coming to ESPN?
In the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek has hinted at the possibility that one of the biggest companies in the country may increase its involvement in gambling. While they’re mostly known for family-friendly content, the company’s internal research has shown that their reputation wouldn’t suffer if they coupled ESPN’s product with more gambling options. Of course, ESPN is owned by Disney.
Chapek noted that following the consumers’ habits and demands, they have concluded that it’s time to consider getting involved with sports gambling in betting “in a bigger and bigger way.” The company has done substantial research on how their further acceptance of gambling would affect the brand of not just ESPN but the Disney organization as a whole. The findings show that now there’s significant insulation as gambling is not stigmatized as it was only 10 or 20 years ago. While the company has been concerned about potential brand withdrawal, the research has shown that that wouldn’t be the case. The expansion of the gambling options will only make ESPN stronger while having no impact on the Disney brand.
The main point of Chapek’s comments is that the concerns about potential damage to the brand were the only concern Disney had about getting their toes deeper into gambling waters. If the results of the internal research are proven to be true, we can expect that the company will get aggressively involved in the gaming industry and be made into a major player in the real money betting market.
According to Chapek, Disney sees sports betting as a huge opportunity for the company. Young consumers have been the center of the company’s attention for a while now. The new generation of sports fans is much more open to betting than was the case with the older generation. Disney plans to capitalize on this and provide an unmatched offer when it comes to betting content. They’re determined to make betting an integral part of the sports experience.
Disney’s Decision could Disrupt the Betting Market
Then news may come as a warning to some other media players who have already invested heavily in the gaming space. One of them, fuboTV provides a streaming service with some of the top sports channels. In addition, they’ve recently introduced their first sportsbook product / gambling in the state of Iowa. fuboTV has also acquired an India-based company focused on developing AI sports analytics products that could be used for smart betting. If Disney eventually decided to come in strong to the betting market, fuboTV will have to react quickly if they are to provide any sort of competition to the entertainment giant.