There is not much to be said of Michael Jordan that hasn’t already been said; he is the greatest basketball player of all time and one of the most iconic athletes in history.
During the 1980s and 90s, ‘MJ’ played a total of 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan was the talisman of what is considered to be the greatest dynasty of any team in NBA history.
He was named NBA MVP five times and took the scoring title in 10 separate seasons. He was also awarded the NBA Finals MVP trophy six times. These personal accolades highlight Jordan’s otherworldly talent on the court, but he was a cultural force off of it as well.
At the height of his fame, ‘His Airness’ was one of the most recognisable people on the planet and arguably still remains so today, even after having stepped away from the limelight.
So, it comes as no surprise that he is still a highly sought-after business partner, and the leading US fantasy sports contest and sports betting provider – DraftKings – is the latest to team up with the NBA legend.
Last year, Jordan joined the company as a special advisor to its board in exchange for an undisclosed equity interest in DraftKings. The 58-year-old provides advice and guidance on a range of business operations such as strategy, marketing and product development.
Though he’s best known for his unrivalled basketball career, Jordan is also one of the most bankable former athletes in the world. His net worth sits at approximately $1.6bn, with most of this coming from his landmark deal with sports giant Nike.
Jordan first collaborated with Nike in 1984, a partnership which helped transform the company from a fledgling start-up into an international juggernaut. Together, they created the Air Jordan brand. In 2019, Air Jordan alone was valued at roughly $3bn.
So, he brings a wealth of business experience to the DraftKings board and the company hopes they can replicate some of the success Jordan and Nike have shared over the years.
Jordan is also ideally placed to advise on some of DraftKings’ products and offerings, such as the growing popularity in college basketball betting markets, having been a former player himself.
In May of this year, DraftKings announced yet another collaboration with Jordan as the company confirmed it will be the sports betting partner of Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing Nascar team for the remainder of the 2021 season.
DraftKings is already the official betting partner of Nascar, but this new partnership with 23XI Racing – and driver Bubba Wallace – also aims to provide a more immersive and engaging experience for fans.
23XI Racing is working with DraftKings to create a series of video content across various social media platforms, including race previews and exclusive features.
As well as a world-leading betting company, DraftKings also provides high quality entertainment and content. The plan is to use those skills and resources to provide 23XI Racing fans with unique and industry-defining content.
DraftKings also released a free-to-play pool to launch this new partnership, allowing fans the chance to win prizes such as signed Wallace merchandise. Alongside the marketing and exposure their partnership with 23XI Racing will provide, DraftKings plan to further establish themselves as innovators in their field.
At the beginning of 2021, DraftKings was unveiled as the official daily fantasy sports partner of the Charlotte Hornets, the NBA team which Jordan owns. This was not the company’s first collaboration with an individual team, but it did further cement its relationship with Jordan.
Like the racing partnership, this deal extends beyond just signage and sponsorship, as DraftKings have worked to help create content and media for the Hornets.
This includes a Hornets-themed mini-game that is set to be integrated into the team’s official app, as well as other interactive features and offerings.
The day after announcing the addition of Jordan to its board, DraftKings also revealed it had teamed up with baseball team the Chicago Cubs as an exclusive partner. While Jordan has no direct link to the club, he stands alongside it as an icon of the Windy City.
He even played at Wrigley Stadium during his short stint as a professional baseball player, when he represented the White Sox.
Across its various partnerships with Jordan, DraftKings has developed a close relationship with the sporting titan. With ‘MJ’ advising its board and collaborating with them on business strategies, it seems their futures will be intertwined moving forward, and it will be exciting to see where this leads.