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Walt Disney is very close to adult business

Mickey leads the celebration at Mickey’s Magical Friendship Fair.Disney

Walt Disney started as a family-friendly brand producing wholesome, G-rated cartoons. While the company has strayed from that and moved into PG and PG-13 content under its core Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars brands, the company has remained very protective of its family-friendly position.

For example, when Disney+ launched, it didn’t include the R-rated content it acquired when the company acquired Fox’s film and television studios. That’s changed since then, and while movies including ‘Deadpool’ are now on streaming services, it wasn’t until the company added parental controls that parents were able to control what content their kids could access.

Disney wants to appeal to the public as a family-friendly brand. It was a core part of Walt Disney’s philosophy when building the early stages of his theme park empire. is not for sale.

However, the rules are a little vague. You can’t walk around with a beer in the Magic Kingdom, but people go virtually next door to Epcot to “drink the world” at the World Showcase. Disney has had to change with the times, and that change hasn’t always been smooth or easy to understand.

And while you’re unlikely to see an R-rated Pixar movie (Toy Story 5: Amy Goes to College), the company is moving into very grown-up territory once considered off-limits. made clear.

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Disney and ESPN push boundaries

Being a family-friendly brand, Disney never pushes the boundaries. Instead, wait until social standards change before committing to that change. That’s what happened in the world of sports betting. Basically, there was a time when mainstream sports broadcasts didn’t cover gambling at all until the Supreme Court opened the doors to states to legalize sports betting in 2018.

Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN, owns the rights to all four major sports leagues in the United States: NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball, allowing announcers and shows to break betting lines and spreads. I avoided talking about my team. Some announcers may give a wink and a nod at why pointless late touchdowns matter to some people, but sports betting was a taboo topic.

That changed with a Supreme Court ruling, with ESPN launching betting shows and even ABC making headlines during NFL games. Disney didn’t blaze a trail here.It just went where their competitors went after they made it safe.

Talking about betting and actually launching a platform for people to bet on are two very different things. But now, the once unthinkable is what CEO Bob Chapek featured on the company’s second quarter earnings call.

Disney, ESPN embrace sports betting

While sports betting platforms are not ubiquitous, a significant number of players have sprung up in states that allow gambling on non-casino games. Offering content seems strange now. This is at least part of why Disney is exploring its own sports betting platform.

“Well, when it comes to sports betting, we’ve been talking to different platforms for quite some time to add utility to sports betting and take the friction out of guests,” Chapek said. We’ve found that sports fans in ESPN desperately need this kind of utility across the portfolio that ESPN offers, so we think it’s important.”

So, while we probably won’t see ‘Mickey Bet’ or ‘Goofy’s Sportsline’, there’s a good chance we’ll see an ESPN-branded sports betting platform.

“We’re working hard on that and making sure our guests not only have access to that revenue stream, but that their needs are met,” he added.

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This story was originally published August 11, 2022 at 11:25 am.