Against a backdrop of a near-complete shutdown of athletic competion, DraftKings made its stock market debut Friday. The gamble appeared to pay off, with the shares for the Boston-based sports daily fantasy and betting site closing up 10.4% in their first day of trading.
DraftKings’ move to Wall Street was sealed Thursday after shareholders of a blank-check company, Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., approved a merger. The two also combined with sports gambling platform supplier SBTech, giving the new company a market value of $3.3 billion.
Co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said he believes that the long-term outlook for sports gambling remains strong, and that DraftKings may even benefit from pent-up fan enthusiasm when games return.
“I hope and believe that sports will come back and people will continue to have a strong appetite for sports," Robins said. "If there is a trend away from being outdoors and going to the public places, you could actually see an increase in sports viewership once traditional sports are being played again. You could also see an increase in online activity.”
States with dwindling tax revenues could also turn to sports gambling as a source of funds, Robins said.
Disgraced tennis great Bob Hewitt out of prison
Former Boston Lobsters star Bob Hewitt was released on parole Friday after serving 3 ½ years of a six-year prison sentence in South Africa for raping two girls and sexually assaulting another in the 1980s and 1990s, while he was coaching them. The 80-year-old Hewitt, once one of the sport’s greatest doubles players, was expelled from the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015 after he was convicted of the crimes. His fall from grace began after a Globe investigation in 2011 of allegations that he raped Heather Crowe Conner, a former state singles champion at Masconomet Regional High School, in 1976 when she was 15 and he was coaching her in Danvers. The former Grand Slam doubles champion was back at his home near the city of Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s south coast, the Department of Corrections said.
More than 100 people alleging that they were were sexually abused by a deceased University of Michigan sports doctor have taken the first step in filing a lawsuit against the school. The Anderson Survivors Legal Team said it has filed 20-plus notices of intent to sue the Ann Arbor school, its board and the estate of Dr. Robert Anderson. Michigan says it has confidence in the independent investigation now underway . . . Phil Neville will step down from coaching the England women’s team when his contract expires next year, missing out on leading the country at the rescheduled European Championship in 2022. The former Manchester United player could still coach the British Olympic team in 2021 in Tokyo.
Top recruit to Texas, not G League
Greg Brown III, the Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas, will play for the hometown Longhorns in Austin instead of following other elite players such as Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd to the NBA’s developmental G League. The 6-foot-9 Brown, whose father Greg Jr., played football for UT, averaged 26 points and 13.2 rebounds as a senior in powering Vandegrift High to a 33-3 record . . . Memphis freshman Precious Achiuwa, a potential lottery pick who is the first player to be honored as both player and freshman of the year in the American Athletic Conference after producing 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, will enter the NBA draft . . . The NCAA’s Division 1 Council approved a proposal to give men’s basketball programs choices with 28- and 29-game schedules. The proposal will allow schools that schedule 28 games to participate in one multiple-team event of up to three games . . . AnnMarie Gilbert, who guided Virginia Union to the Division 2 women’s title game in 2017 and compiled a 135-18 record in five seasons, was hired as the new coach at Detroit Mercer.