ESPN suspends DraftKings $250 million advertising partnership

Following allegations of misuse of game data by employees, US sports network ESPN has pulled sponsorship slots promoting the DraftKings brand from its channels.

The decision by ESPN to suspend DraftKings advertising is a temporary break to its agreed $250 million ad-spend partnership which was announced in August ahead of the start of the 2015/16 NFL season.

DraftKings data integrity has come under scrutiny, following the early release of game data on NFL contests by employee Ethan Haskell, who would cause further polemic in the DFS community by winning $350,000 of prize money on main rival FanDuel tournaments.

ESPN released the following statement regarding its actions to pull advertising from its channels:

“It is standard procedure for us to pull these kind of sponsorships and integrations when we are covering significant news, to avoid any suggestion of influence on our coverage.”

Yesterday New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that a state investigation would be launched into the allegations of data violations by DraftKings and FanDuel employees.

Schneiderman is set to investigate the names and titles of the staff who compile and organise data for the operators. At present employees at DraftKings and FanDuel are not prohibited from participating on other DFS platforms.

However the DFS player community is in uproar as numerous sources have disclosed that DraftKings and FanDuel employees feature as top performers in a number of DFS websites.

The allegations of data malpractices comes as DFS operators are placed under the media spotlight, as US policy makers discuss whether DFS constitutes sports betting which is not permitted under national gambling laws.