Disney CEO Bob Chapek was asked about sports betting at last week's Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. His answer had an interesting logic to it:
putting a link out, for example, which would probably be the most likely application – a link out, not app as an app, but application, a link out to a sports betting site, ESPN-branded, would have no impact on brand equity for Disney but will have a very positive impact on the brand equity for ESPN because our younger audience is demanding that.
It seems like an obvious point: of course brand equity concerns would dictate Disney’s preference to link out to a sports betting site than own a sports betting site. But I think Chapek is implying a simpler, more nuanced point: even if sports betting is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business, the sports betting consumer needs a linear ESPN broadcast more than they need another DTC sports betting service.
I wrote back in Januarythatone of Disney’s biggest challenges with sports betting - beyond brand equity - is conceding to sports betting companies the transactional stages of the DTC conversion funnel closest to the consumer. That’s a suboptimal outcome for a ...