DraftKings, the popular sports betting operator, is reportedly planning to launch a free video streaming service that includes sports podcasts. The move comes as a way for the company to expand its media footprint and potentially offer a new job option for on-air talent facing layoffs this summer, particularly those from ESPN.
According to reports, the video shows are expected to be versions of podcasts that DraftKings already financially supports. The company plans to roll out the DK Network in the coming weeks, which could feature prominent names from the sports media industry.
In recent years, sports betting operators have been transitioning into media companies, with DraftKings being no exception. This has led to on-air talent moving from traditional linear media networks to gambling giants. DraftKings, in particular, has secured top talent and trusted personalities across the sports media industry.
The company has a partnership with Meadowlark Media, which was founded by former ESPN president John Skipper and ESPN personality Dan Le Batard. This has already resulted in a few high-profile hires, including former ESPNers Kenny Mayne and Trey Wingo, who joined Caesars Sportsbook, and ex-ESPN Radio personality Mike Golic Jr., who now hosts a podcast for DraftKings.
The timing of DraftKings' announcement is particularly significant as ESPN recently launched a series of layoffs to comply with its parent company The Walt Disney Co.'s mandate to cut 7,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in costs worldwide. The free video streaming service could potentially offer a new job option for ESPN talent facing these layoffs.
DraftKings' move to launch a free video streaming service demonstrates the company's desire to become a prominent player in the media industry, while also providing a potential alternative job opportunity for on-air talent affected by industry-wide cost-cutting measures.