Disney ‘working hard’ on developing ESPN sports-betting app

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Bob Chapek, the Chief Executive Officer of Walt Disney Co, said that ESPN sports networks are crucial to his overall vision of the company, which involves more direct relations with consumers with wagering on sports. He said that sports betting is a part of what the younger sports audience wants as part of their sports lifestyle.

Chapek said this in an interview at Disney’s D23 fan event in Anaheim, California. Answering whether the company was developing an ESPN sports-betting mobile application, he said that they are working on it. ESPN has been at the focal point of investors in the last few weeks after activist Dan Loeb wrote to Chapek hinting that he will spin off the sports channels to shareholders to provide more emphasis on their highlight value.

“Sports betting is a part of what our younger, say, under-35 sports audience is telling us they want as part of their sports lifestyle,” Chapek was quoted as saying in Bloomberg. “We’re working very hard on that (developing an ESPN sports-betting mobile app).” He said that he received up to 100 inquiries from entities interested in the sector, which in his opinion, undervalues its worth.

“If you have a house that you’re gonna put up for sale and you have a hundred buyers, you probably got a pretty cool house,” Chapek added. Loeb on September 11, Sunday, said that he has more understanding of the growth plans and of ESPN, and was not pressing for divestiture anymore. He also said that he had no interest in separating from the streaming TV service, Hulu, which is partly owned by Comcast Corp.

Chapek also said that he is in contact with officials of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to maintain the independent status of the self-regulated municipal party, Reedy Creek Improvement District, which facilitates the Walt Disney World resort. Legislators in Florida initially voted to disband the district. “I am inherently an optimistic person and I believe there’s a solution here,” Chapek said.