The New York Business Journal reports that US daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings has opened discussions with Walt Disney Co, with regards to a potential venture investment that could see the Seattle based start-up valued at $1 billion.
At present the US sports market is seeing a tug of war being fought between heavily backed fantasy sports operators DraftKings and Fanduel for new customers and leading market share.
DraftKings who in its latest venture round raised $41 million capital has aggressively targeted the US sports market through high visibility partnerships with professional sports franchises such as the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Red Wings. The operator has also formed an exclusive fantasy sports partnership with the NHL.
The New York Business Journal highlights the significance of a DraftKings joint venture with Disney, as the media owner owns sports broadcaster ESPN, the country’s most watched sports network. Fanduel is currently tied to media owners Comcast and NBC Sports who are investors.
The Journal notes the importance of high level partnerships for both operators, as the competitors have near exact business models. As market leading start-ups both companies have looked to differentiate their brands through exclusive partnerships, in what has quickly become an expensive market place.
Fanduel currently leads the US fantasy sports market with $57 million in reported revenues for 2014 to DraftKings $30 million. Fanduel is reported to have the bigger active player base.