NBA legend Michael Jordan is taking an equity interest in DraftKings Inc. and becoming a special adviser to the online sports-betting company’s board of directors.
The six-time NBA Finals MVP will provide guidance and advice on company strategy, product development and marketing activities.
DraftKings shares rose as much as 12% at the start of trading Wednesday and were up 6.3% to $39.25 at 10:03 a.m. in New York.
“Michael Jordan is among the most important figures in sports and culture, who forever redefined the modern athlete and entrepreneur,” DraftKings co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins said in a statement.
Details of the equity stake weren’t disclosed. Jordan is also the chairman and majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. The team is worth $1.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg analysis.
DraftKings started trading publicly in April after a reverse merger with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. Shares have more than doubled since its debut.
Jordan’s affinity for gambling is well documented. ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary film spent an episode detailing the basketball great’s controversial history of gambling in casinos, on team flights and on the golf course. During the 1990’s, Jordan’s propensity for gambling often overshadowed his play on the court.
DraftKings is Jordan’s latest gig as a company pitchman. Nike Inc.’s Jordan Brand has brought in over $3.6 billion in wholesale equivalent revenue for the 12 months ended May 31.
DraftKings has been battling with competitors, like Flutter Inc.’s FanDuel, for market share in states where sports gambling is legal. The two company’s account for roughly two-thirds of online sports bets in the U.S., according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
FanDuel has made similar moves with sports personalities, announcing an official partnership with Pat McAfee in July.(Updates with share movement beginning in third paragraph.)
–With assistance from Devon Pendleton.