Disney Working Hard to Develop ESPN Sports Betting App

Disney CEO Bob Chapek (l.) said the company won’t get rid of ESPN. Indeed, Disney/ESPN is developing a sports betting app. Sports betting, according to network president Jimmy Pitaro, is a “must have” for ESPN.

What Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at a D23 fan event in Anaheim, was that the kingdom a mouse built would not spin off its ESPN holding. Indeed, the company is said to be hard at work on an ESPN sports betting app.

ESPN is essential to the company’s future, and gambling is a part of that future.

“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 said, according to Bloomberg.

Chapek gave no timeline for the completion of the app.

Moreover, ESPN plans to expand its sports betting content with new shows, updated roles, and more content with in-depth analysis and coverage during football season.

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro declared sports wagering as a “must-have” for the brand.

Meanwhile, ESPN has been a subject for investors, including Dan Loeb of Third Point Capital, which has a stake in the network. He said spinning the network off would give ESPN more flexibility.

Chapek has fielded about 100 inquiries about a sale, which he says speaks to its increasing value. No spin off!

In related ESPN news, the network has tapped Doug Kezirian as its sports betting insider. He had been hosting the gambling-focused Daily Wager show since it launched in March 2019 but has almost 20 years’ experience in betting coverage, according to Yogonet Gaming News.

Kezirian will increase visibility across studio shows and digital platforms. That means writing multiple betting columns each week for ESPN.com, with topics including last-minute football betting advice, insider perspective and selection for Saturdays and Sundays. He will also appear on ESPN Radio, especially during the college and NFL seasons.

The expanded presence means ESPN Sports Betting Analyst Tyler Fulghum takes over as host of Daily Wager. He’ll also contribute to other programming.

ESPN Sports Betting Analyst Joe Fortenbaugh will contribute to Daily Wager and other studio shows, and in January, he’ll host a digital show and podcast.

“Fans are craving sports betting content, and ahead of and during football season we want to provide it to them,” said Scott Clark, vice president, fantasy & sports betting content, ESPN. “We have added some talented minds to the diverse and well-respected industry experts we already have and are implementing new creative ideas into the mix.”

You want more? Sports Betting Analyst Erin Dolan will host Bet with Erin Dolan each Monday, on Snapchat. She’ll make appearances on Monday Tailgate, while also continuing to provide sports betting analysis for Daily Wager, Bet, SportsCenter, and This Just In, among other shows.

SportsCenter commentator and betting analyst ‘Stanford’ Steve Coughlin and research producer and sports betting analyst Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica will share regular weekly picks columns on Thursdays, along with the return of their podcast on Wednesdays.

SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt’s Winners segment from SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt will become a new weekly column on Fridays. Also on Fridays, ESPN’s sports betting analysts will combine for a weekly NFL betting tips column.

Pitaro said he sees sports gambling as part of his company heading forward. “It’s not a ‘nice to have,’ it’s pretty much at this point a must-have,” he explained. For him, this means ESPN must serve the sports fan “with what they’re expecting” and take the friction out of the process. He stated ESPN has the opportunities “to partner with different folks and be a bit more aggressive in the space.”