DraftKings has announced that Cal Ripken Jr. has agreed to join the company as a special adviser to the board of directors. Ripken will become an equity holder as part of this deal, and the DraftKings company is hoping that his presence will allow the company to become more popular.
The most important role for the former Baltimore Orioles star will be to provide guidance to the board of directors and CEO Jason Robins. DraftKings also plans to use Ripken for advertising and promotional opportunities, especially in the Northeast Region of the United States.
The timing of this announcement was strategic by DraftKings Sportsbook as the MLB season is set to begin in a few weeks. This also follows a trend of sports betting companies partnering with famous professional athletes to gain popularity in a competitive market.
Ripken is now a highly successful businessman, launching the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in 2001. This program helps serve millions of kids throughout the United States that might not have the necessary resources to be successful.
Ripken: A Baseball Legend
Cal Ripken Jr. is known as “Iron Man” after playing in 2,632 straight games during his Major League Baseball career. Ripken was able to overcome several minor injuries throughout his career and always managed to take the field for the Baltimore Orioles.
During his career, Ripken won two American League MVP Awards and was named to the American League All-Star team 19 times. He is one of just 10 MLB players to rack up at least 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
Ripken led the Baltimore Orioles to one World Series championship and will go down as one of the best to ever play the game of baseball.
Where Does Maryland Stand?
Maryland sports betting was legalized by voters in November 2020, and that measure passed by an overwhelming margin. Unfortunately, that did not lead to the launch of sports betting to begin 2021.
State lawmakers must still create sports betting rules and regulations, and that has taken much longer than anticipated. Legislators continue to argue about the number of sports betting licenses to make available, and online betting is also a sticking point.
Even though sports betting is technically legal in Maryland at this time, it’s unclear when sportsbooks will be able to accept their first wagers.
‘Air Jordan’ Also on Board
Adding Ripken should provide a huge boost to the DraftKings company, but the former MLB star is not the biggest name working with the company. That title would belong to Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player to ever play the game.
In September 2020, Jordan took up equity in DraftKings, and the company named him a special adviser as part of the deal. It is unclear how much equity Jordan has in the brand, but adding his name is a huge boost to the industry.
Jordan is the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets and will provide guidance to the DraftKings board of directors.