DraftKings announced a sports betting partnership with LeBron James on Wednesday, making the Lakers star a talent ambassador for the bookmaker. In this role, James will provide content for DraftKings, including weekly football picks. DK said in its press release that in addition to those weekly picks, James will also create additional sports betting content, but details on the other content James will provide were not provided.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 31, 2024
DraftKings also did not disclose details on either the financial terms of the agreement or its duration.
DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins said of the deal with James, “Welcoming one of the most influential and greatest athletes of all time, LeBron James, to the DraftKings family is an absolute honor and privilege. We look forward to working with a passionate sports fan who shares the same competitive mindset that echoes throughout the walls at DraftKings, while delivering exciting engagement opportunities to our customers and his loyal fanbase for years to come.”
The agreement is also notable, given that NBA players were given the right to endorse sportsbooks last year, but this is the first such agreement reached with a current player.
Read more here from Gaming Today’s Brant James on what this means for NBA, NHL, and MLB player endorsement of sportsbooks.
The DK deal emphasizing James’ takes on football might surprise hoops fans, but logically, he is not getting paid to analyze his sport and league. It also should be no surprise to those familiar with James’ well-documented love of the gridiron dating back to his high school football career.
James, like a growing number of athletes in football and basketball (including Philadelphia Union investor Kevin Durant and EPL club Burnley minority owner JJ Watt, to name a few), is also involved in soccer via his stake in Premier League club Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group.
LeBron Becomes Latest Athlete To Serve as Sportsbook Ambassador
As the top leagues, from the NBA to NHL to MLB, continue to strengthen their ties with DraftKings and other bookmakers, deals like James’ with DK will likely proliferate. Below are a few other similar athlete-sportsbook ambassador deals that preceded this one:
- Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (BetMGM) (BetMGM also has deals with a range of former athletes including Jalen Rose, Barry Sanders, and Wayne Gretzky).
- Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Auston Matthews (Bet99) and John Tavares (Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s Proline).
- Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon (MaximBet) became the first player in his league to partner with a sportsbook back in 2022.