The term “Micky Mouse” has often been used in sports – usually to describe trophies and clubs – but could Disney be looking to genuinely grow their brand with sports betting?

In what may seem a strange move for a company that’s much closely associated with children’s television, Disney has recently shown a lot of interest in expanding into the sports betting industry.

However, the firm has considerable advantages in a rapidly growing field. While it is a difficult operation, Disney’s entry into sports betting may contribute greatly to the business’ profitability and success.

To be fair, it’s not the biggest surprise considering that Disney has been expanding into other sectors for a number of years. Many forget that they do own the company that possesses an 80% stake in ESPN, so sports is nothing new to them.

However, many people have been questioning the move; will entering the sports betting market not tarnish their reputation?

Sure, the acquisitions of some of the other companies they now own were originally questionable, but they proved successful – sports betting may be a whole new level, though.

Why The Move?

One factor that may have influenced Disney’s decision was a change in American legislation that allows states to legalise sports betting, which has since been embraced by 20 states and contributed to a significant rise in the industry’s revenue and profits.

As a result of this, many more states are likely to follow in the footsteps of the others – and Disney will certainly know this. Those profits will be on the rise for quite some time yet.

Per the American Gaming Association, for the first time in October 2020, Americans gambled an estimated $3 billion on just sports betting alone. Last year, the sector’s income grew by 53% year on year to $237.5 million.

According to data firm H2 Gambling Capital, the worldwide sportsbook business would be valued at approximately $43 billion by 2025.

Furthermore, Disney owns ESPN, the most popular sports network in the country, as previously stated. A partnership between the broadcaster and prominent bookmakers might bring in big profits for the corporation.

Potential Issues With The Move

While the sports betting business is large, Disney’s entry into it would be fraught with obstacles. The reception they may receive from joining sports betting is certainly one of them.

However, no Disney branding is anticipated to appear on their subsidiary. Disney has typically shunned vice industries in order to maintain its clean “family-friendly” image.




New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. Full T&Cs apply. 18+ #ad. Please bet responsibly.

While an ESPN sportsbook wouldn’t be as obvious as Micky Mouse ears plastered all over the site, it might still be interpreted as Disney actively pushing people to wager on sports, tarnishing their brand.

For the time being, Disney has limited itself to simply licencing agreements, but a $3 billion spend on them is a little more than a clue of their ambitions. It falls behind other firms in this regard.

Disney’s indirect ownership position in DraftKings through its ESPN brand complicates the picture further. As a result of a drop in income for DraftKings, Disney will be impacted, too. Thus, some industry experts have stated that the acquisition will not be profitable.

However, nothing will be certain for a little while yet, and who knows, maybe Disney will be the go-to name for everything gambling and the proud owner of everything from the top sportsbooks to the best slot games online.

Other Companies Owned By Disney

To their credit, Disney has a rather diversified portfolio. Of course, when the name is stated, it’s tough not to think of the classic characters, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

Since its establishment in 1923, The Walt Disney Company has continuously expanded its enterprises into new industries. Disney is now worth an estimated $130 billion and has a significantly diverse portfolio.

Here are some of the other companies they own, which you may not have expected:

  • National Geographic – Featuring the familiar faces of the likes of David Attenborough and such, National Geographic publishes nature, animal, and travel periodicals, television shows, books, and documentaries. When Disney paid $71 billion for 21st Century Fox in 2019, it acquired National Geographic.
  • Hulu – Disney had 30 percent of Hulu before the deal with 21st Century Fox, but now controls 60 percent. Comcast owns 30% of the corporation, with WarnerMedia owning the remaining 10%. They haven’t ruled out combining Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu into a single streaming platform.
  • GoPro – Steamboat Ventures, Disney’s venture capital arm, made an undisclosed investment in GoPro, an American technology firm specialising in action cameras and video editing software, in 2013.
  • Hollywood Records – Michael Eisner, who was the CEO of Disney at the time, launched Hollywood Records in 1989. The label is now home to the likes of Queen, as well as many of the musicians that gained their stardom through Disney, such as Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato.
  • ABC – In 1996, Disney paid $19 billion for ABC, bringing shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds,” “Lost” and many more under their umbrella.