Michael Jordan in taking an equity stake in DraftKings and joining the company as a special advisor to the board.
The billionaire owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets will provide guidance and advice to the company as it continues to expand its reach into gambling, media and technology. He’ll also provide insight into corporate diversity and product development.
Details on the size of his investment, which was approved by the NBA, wasn’t disclosed. DraftKings stock jumped more than 13% in early trading Wednesday.
“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said in a statement. “The strategic counsel and business acumen Michael brings to our board is invaluable, and I am excited to have him join our team.”
Jordan, 57, is also an investor in Sportradar, the data company that has become the dominant player in sports gambling data in the U.S. Sportradar works with dozens of sports books, including DraftKings, supplying them with official data and live media streams.
He joins DraftKings at a critical time for the company. As legal sports betting slowly opens in individual states across the country, DraftKings and its competitors are moving as quickly as possible, vying for market share in as many jurisdictions as possible. The company still does its original daily fantasy product, and is branching out into online casino games where legal.
Draftkings went public earlier this year through a reverse merger and its stock price has more than doubled. The company finished its most recent quarter with over $1.2 billion in cash and no debt, fueling speculation about where it might spend that money.
Jordan’s personal betting habits are well-documented and have been a topic of lore around the NBA for decades. He’s also not the first traditional sports owners to have equity in the Boston-based company. Others include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s Legends, and New York Knicks owner Jim Dolan, through MSG.