HOW ESPN HAS WEATHERED THE STORM

ESPN HUSTLING TO DEVELOP A SPORTS BETTING APP!

By Skip Charles in Vegas

Disney has made it clear that it’s sticking with ESPN — despite recent entreaties from a prominent investor to spin off the network.

At the company’s D23 Expo, Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicized ESPN’s sports betting efforts, claiming Disney is “working very hard” on developing an ESPN sports betting app.

Chapek characterized sports betting as important to Disney’s younger sports audience.

“We believe that ESPN is an asset that is well placed within the Walt Disney company,” Chapek told Reuters.

Amid spin-off rumors, Chapek said he’s received as many as 100 inquiries from interested parties, which “says something about its potential.”

Last month, when activist investor Daniel Loeb’s Third Point bought a $1 billion stake in Disney, Loeb sent a letter urging Chapek to spin off the sports network.

“ESPN would have greater flexibility to pursue business initiatives that may be more difficult as part of Disney, such as sports betting,” Loeb wrote.

Now, Loeb appears to be walking back his comments, tweeting on Sunday, “We have a better understanding of ESPN’s potential as a standalone business,” and that he looks forward to seeing ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro “execute on the growth and innovation plans.”

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