ESPN Pulls DraftKings Sponsored Ads in Wake of Insider Trading Allegations

Sponsorship and on-air graphics for fantasy sports company have been removed from network’s news programming


ESPN has pulled sponsored content for DraftKings from its programs in the wake of allegations of insider trading at the fantasy sports company.

The network will remove sponsorship and graphics from any ESPN news programming for Tuesday. The decision is being updated on a day-to-day basis.

“It is a standard procedure for us pull these kinds of sponsorships and billboards when we are covering breaking news. We look to avoid any suggestion of influence on our coverage,” an ESPN spokesperson told TheWrap.

On Monday, DraftKings and rival fantasy sports site FanDuel were forced to release statements defending their businesses’ integrity amidst allegations that employees were placing bets using information not generally available to the public.

The questions regarding possible insider trading were sparked when a DraftKings employee won $350,000 in a daily fantasy contest on FanDuel during Week 3 of the NFL season. It was suspected that he had access to data showing which football players are the hottest to own that weekend.

DraftKings and FanDuel released a joint statement on Monday stressing the importance of maintaining the integrity of the games that they offer.

“Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs,” the statement said, according to The New York Times. “Employees with access to this data are rigorously monitored by internal fraud control teams, and we have no evidence that anyone has misused it.”

Justine Sacco, the PR executive who sparked global backlash in Dec. 2013 when she posted offensive tweets about AIDS and Africa, is a spokesperson for FanDuel.

Boston-based start up site DraftKings allows fans to play fantasy sports with real money on a per-game basis without having to commit to an entire season.

DraftKings is one of the country’s biggest daily fantasy sports companies, with more than 1 million users.

ESPN, has a major advertising relationship with DraftKings, reported to be worth $250 million.