NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan has signed on as a “special advisor” to the board of DraftKings, giving him an equity stake, the fantasy sports and sports betting company said Wednesday, boosting the company’s stock in pre-market trading.
Effective immediately, Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets who is well known for his fondness for gambling, will provide “ guidance and strategic advice to the board of directors on key business initiatives undertaken by the sports technology and entertainment company” that went public earlier this year, the company said in a statement, which boosted shares by more than 12% premarket Wednesday to $41.40.
“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder and CEO, said in the statement; adding, “the strategic counsel and business acumen Michael brings to our board is invaluable, and I am excited to have him join our team.”
As a special advisor, Jordan will provide strategic and creative input to the board on company strategy, product development, inclusion, equity and belonging, marketing activities and other key initiatives, the statement said.
DraftKings, which went public April 24 with a closing price of $19.35, has seen its shares grow steadily over the spring and summer even as the coronavirus upended professional sports; it had a market cap of $13 billion early Wednesday.
Terms of the deal with DraftKings, which describes itself as the “only U.S.-based vertically integrated sports betting operator,” were not disclosed; a spokesman for the company declined to comment beyond the statement.
With “M.J.”, who played 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls, DraftKings adds a globally recognized marquee name bound to attract widespread interest to the company. It’s not surprising that Jordan would align himself with a sports betting company. Stories of his high-stakes golf wagers and late nights in Atlantic City abound. His fondness for gambling was addressed in ESPN’s popular documentary on the 1997-’98 Chicago Bulls, “The Last Dance.” DraftKings announced plans to go public in late 2019, via a reverse merger with publicly traded shell company, Diamond Eagle. As part of the deal, the company acquired sports betting technology provider, SBTech, according to media reports. At the time it went public DraftKings was worth about $780 million, according to CNBC.
Last month, a pair of Jordan’s shoes —notable for having a shard of glass embedded in one sole from a backboard he shattered during a game—reportedly became the most expensive pair of sneakers sold at auction in history this week when they sold for a sky-high $615,000.
Michael Jordan Joins DraftKings as Special Advisor to the Board
Michael Jordan’s gambling explained: ‘I love to bet’ (Los Angeles Times)
Record-Breaking Sneakers: Michael Jordan’s Shoes Sell For $615,000 (Forbes)