Hall-of-Fame basketball legend Michael Jordan will be an investor and special adviser to the board of sports-betting company DraftKings, the company announced Wednesday.

The NBA Hall of Fame inductee, six-time NBA Finals MVP and Chairman of Hornets Sports & Entertainment has agreed to take an equity interest in DraftKings in exchange for providing 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 deal sent shares of DraftKings roughly 6% higher in early trading. Jordan will take an undisclosed equity stake in exchange for “providing guidance and strategic advice,” the company said in a statement.
The Charlotte Hornets chairman and former Bulls player will also inform DraftKings’ board on strategy, product development and inclusion initiatives.

“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” said Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder and CEO. “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 of directors on company strategy, product development, inclusion, equity and belonging, marketing activities and other key initiatives.

Jordan’s status as special advisor to DraftKings’ board of directors is effective immediately. Further information about DraftKings is available at draftkings.com/about and the latest company updates can be found on Twitter at @DraftKingsNews.

Jordan, a member of the National Basketball Association Hall of Fame, will have an equity interest in the company as part of the deal. He is the current chairman and owner of the Charlotte Hornets franchise.

Jordan is expected to offer DraftKings his expertise on sports company strategy, product development, diversity, equity and belonging, marketing activities and other key initiatives, according to the release.

“While the immediate financial impact is hard to measure, we see this development benefiting [DraftKings] by associating its brand with the US most revered living athlete,” wrote Jed Kelly, an analyst at Oppenheimer.

For the company, the counsel from the six-time NBA Finals MVP and Chicago Bulls icon will be more than welcome, according to CEO Jason Robins.

The move offers “opportunities to work even closer with the NBA; and we see the Jordan legacy tying itself to [DraftKings] as validating legalized online sports betting as a mainstream industry while more states look to legalize sports wagering,” Kelly added.

Despite the Covid-19 headaches, DraftKings investors remain largely positive on DraftKings’s longer-term outlook and have sent its stock soaring more than 240% so far this year to $36.93 by Tuesday’s close.

Its ability to broker a deal with the likes of Jordan is perhaps the most striking example yet of the excitement surrounding the sports gambling world and the wealth now tied to the nascent industry.

A recent addition to the public markets, DraftKings in April combined with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, and gaming technology provider SBTech. The move allowed it to circumvent the typical initial public offering process.

At the time it went public and closed its merger with Diamond Eagle on April 24, DraftKings was worth about $780 million. It’s now worth north of $13 billion, according to FactSet estimates.

About DraftKings

DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) is a digital sports entertainment and gaming company created to fuel the competitive spirits of sports fans with products that range across daily fantasy, regulated gaming and digital media. Headquartered in Boston, and launched in 2012 by Jason Robins, Matt Kalish and Paul Liberman, DraftKings is the only U.S.-based vertically integrated sports betting operator. DraftKings is a multi-channel provider of sports betting and gaming technologies, powering sports and gaming entertainment for 50+ operators across more than 15 regulated U.S. and global markets, including Arkansas and Oregon in the U.S. DraftKings’ Sportsbook offers mobile and retail betting for major U.S. and international sports and operates in the United States pursuant to regulations in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports product is available in 8 countries internationally with 15 distinct sports categories. DraftKings is the official daily fantasy partner of the NFL, MLB and the PGA TOUR as well as an authorized gaming operator of the NBA and MLB and an official betting operator of the PGA TOUR.