DraftKings appoints former ESPN executive Donoghue to senior growth role

In her new leadership role, Donoghue will work with the existing teams at DraftKings to uncover new growth opportunities. She will also be charged with spearheading various internal processes.

Donoghue joins DraftKings after five and a half years at online retail giant Amazon. Here, she served as vice-president of Amazon’s US Sports Content & Partnerships division. 

Prior to this, she spent over 19 years with US sports broadcaster ESPN, serving in a series of senior roles. These include executive vice-president of global business and content strategy, as well as executive vice-president of global strategy and original content.

Donoghue also has experience working within the legal sector. Earlier in her career, she was senior director for legal at PolyGram. In addition, she worked as an attorney for law firm Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam and Roberts. 

“I am thrilled to be joining DraftKings during this exciting phase,” Donoghue said. “I’ve long admired the organisation’s steady rise as an industry innovator. This is a special opportunity to expand on its industry-leading position and propel the company to new heights.”

DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins also welcomed the appointment. Robins said Donoghue will be a “transformative” force in DraftKings’ future success.

“We are delighted to welcome Marie to our executive team and the immense wealth of experience she brings as a highly regarded leader and trailblazer within our industry,” Robins said. 

“Marie’s exceptional track record speaks for itself. She is poised to be a transformative force in our company’s future success.”

Reports suggest DraftKing could partner Barstool on sports betting

The news comes as reports this week suggest DraftKings could link up with Barstool on a new sports betting initiative.

As reported by Sportico, the initiative would be a more traditional marketing partnership. Barstool would promote DraftKings odds and refer customers to the operator’s sportsbook. Barstool itself would not lend its name to a sportsbook or betting app.

Industry investor Chris Grove said in a post on LinkedIn that the deal would be of benefit to both DraftKings and Barstool, despite the latter not actually offering betting.

Grove also suggested such a partnership would be a blow to Penn Entertainment. Penn sold the Barstool brand back to its founder Dave Portnoy in August last year. Penn had been running Barstool as its sports betting brand since 2020.

Instead, Penn is now working with ESPN on the new ESPN Bet brand.

DraftKings CEO keeping a “close eye” on ESPN Bet launch

ESPN Bet is a product of a $1.5bn (£1.2bn/€1.4bn) deal between Penn Entertainment and Disney-owned ESPN, Donoghue’s former employer. It launched across 17 states back in November.

Speaking at the third annual Craig-Hallum Online Gaming Conference, Robins, said he is not concerned over the launch, despite ESPN Bet smashing records for sportsbook downloads. Instead, he said the addition of EPSN Bet to the mix could be good for the market.

However, Robins also admitted that he is “keeping a “close eye” on the launch.

“We watch this stuff very closely,” Robins said. “We’ve seen nothing to suggest that our trajectory is changing, but its obviously something we’re keeping a close eye on.”

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