DraftKings’ Hiring Gisele just the Latest big-time move by the Sportsbook Operator

Jay Dieffenbach

The changes to the sports betting landscape are coming fast and furious, with DraftKings creating more buzz by bringing aboard the wife of Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady.

And this week’s hiring of Gisele Bundchen – as special adviser to its board of directors, according to ESPN’s David Purdum – is just the latest move in a series of headlines.

Here’s a look at a few of DraftKings’ more significant moves.

Establishing a bit of name recognition last September, the company brought aboard Michael Jordan – the noted gambler (and six-time NBA champion) — as an adviser, joining baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

Jordan, who also owns the Charlotte Hornets, now has an undisclosed equity stake in DraftKings and provides “guidance and strategic advice” to DraftKings’ board of directors on initiatives such as product development, inclusion and marketing activities, the company said.

“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder and CEO, said in a statement at the time. “The strategic counsel and business acumen Michael brings to our board is invaluable, and I am excited to have him join our team.”

Content is (Draft)King

Pushing its original content agenda, DraftKings hired Brian Angiolet as its chief media officer.

Angiolet, a Verizon exec, most recently was senior vice president and chief business officer there.

When he begins on Monday, he’ll be leading the company’s content creation and media strategy efforts and will have a vast trove of resources to develop. DraftKings already has agreements with Turner Sports and ESPN to distribute its various forms of content and promotions.

The sportsbook operator produces its own real-time fantasy sports betting news and analysis from DK Live and DK Nation, and recently acquired the Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN).

At Verizon, Angiolet handled broadcasting, sports and digital entertainment deals. He ran partnerships with the NFL and NBA and was in charge of the Verizon Wireless advertising and media portfolio.

“Brian brings invaluable experience to this new chief media officer position and deeply understands how the virtuous circle among sports, gaming and content has the potential to boost engagement,” Robins said in the hiring announcement.

“As our media presence grows with the acquisition of VSiN, among other strategic moves, Brian’s creative ideas and insightful perspectives will further propel the possibilities of DraftKings content.”

Gisele’s perspective

The National Football League continued its about-face on its stance regarding sports betting by reaching an agreement with DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesar’s to make those sportsbook operators official partners with the league.

Bundchen, whose role as “adviser” is not publicly defined though the details should be interesting, is married to the NFL’s most accomplished player of all time, Brady. Her hiring underscores the NFL’s lightning-quick acceptance of sports gambling since the Supreme Court’s 2018 overturn of the sports betting ban.

And, as Pro Football Talk noted, it’s likely the NFL was consulted and ultimately signed off on the hiring of Bundchen as a special adviser to the DraftKings board.

DraftKings is on the road to profitability

The business model shows signs of life as DraftKings keeps pushing forward.

In 2019, the company lost $3.26 a share, narrowed that to a loss of $2.76 a share in 2020 and now analysts project losses of $1.42 this year and a dollar per share in 2022, according to Investor’s Business Daily data.

On Feb. 26, DraftKings raised its 2021 outlook after reporting mixed fourth-quarter results. Revenue of $322 million was up 146% vs. a year earlier.

More stats from IBD:

  • Average monthly unique payers jumped 44% vs. a year earlier to 1.5 million. Average revenue per monthly unique payer swelled 55% to $65.
  • DraftKings raised its 2021 revenue target to $900 million to $1 billion from November's target of $750 million to $850 million. The current consensus is for $827.8 million.

DraftKings’ already-impressive 2021 track record

With the embrace of the NFL fully consummated, DraftKings’ recent activity – especially as it relates to its Wall Street potential — is worth a look:

  • Jan. 24: DraftKings Sportsbook is launched in Virginia, marking the 12th state in which DraftKings is available.
  • On Jan. 26: Goldman Sachs upgraded DraftKings stock from neutral to buy, while raising the price target from 45 to 65. The share price rose 5 percent.

According to Goldman analyst Stephen Grambling, "We upgrade DKNG to Buy as we expect ongoing sales beats versus consensus driven by: 1) sustained market-leading position in new and existing markets, 2) ability to participate in the economics of single operator states, and 3) presence of national partnerships that should allow them to accelerate growth and achieve scale sooner than the broader peer group."

  • Feb. 4: DraftKings’ exclusive daily fantasy partnership with the NFL expands into Canada.
  • Feb. 19: Oppenheimer boosted its price target from 65 to 80, while maintaining an outperform rating. The analyst cited optimism ahead of the sports betting company's fourth-quarter results.
  • March 3: DISH Network and DraftKings announced a strategic agreement to provide the DraftKings app on the DISH TV Hopper platform. The agreement also allows for subsequent DraftKings sportsbook and daily fantasy experiences with DISH Network's SLING TV and Boost Mobile in the future.
  • March 4: DraftKings announced a deal with the UFC to be its official sportsbook and "daily fantasy partner" in the U.S. and Canada.

And, as mentioned above, on April 15, DraftKings partnered with the NFL to become the league’s official sports betting partner. The NFL and DraftKings also said that DraftKings's relationship as the NFL's exclusive official daily fantasy partner will be extended.

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