Cal Ripken Jr. to Join DraftKings as Special Adviser to Board

Cal Ripken Jr. to Join DraftKings as Special Adviser to Board
© USA Today

Former Baltimore Orioles great and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will join DraftKings as a special adviser to its board of directors, effective immediately.

Ripken will provide strategic insights to the DraftKings board of directors and Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins on company initiatives and will become a DraftKings equity holder, according to a news release Thursday. Ripken will also advise on product development and marketing activities.

The announcement comes at the start of spring training and as MLB gears up for the 2021 season.

“Cal Ripken Jr. embodies the qualities of perseverance and integrity we value so highly at DraftKings, and on behalf of the entire company I want to extend our warmest welcome to him as a special adviser,” Robins, also a co-founder of DraftKings, said in the news release. “We are inspired not only by Cal’s historic playing days, but also his current work to cultivate new generations of ballplayers. His unique combination of leadership, longevity and business acumen ensure that we will receive invaluable strategic counsel.”

In September, sports icon Michael Jordan, owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, joined DraftKings as a special adviser to the company’s board of directors. He received an equity stake in the Boston-based gaming company to provide guidance and advice to the board. Ripken received a similar equity arrangement, according to the news release.

DraftKings is scheduled to announce its fourth-quarter earnings Friday.

Maryland is considering legislation to regulate sports betting after voters in November approved of it in a referendum. The state House has a hearing Thursday on a sports betting bill. Ripken, who played his entire career for the Orioles, still lives in Maryland and is considered one of the state’s greatest homegrown athletes.

More About Ripken

Ripken is one of just 10 players with more than 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. He has won a World Series championship, two American League MVP Awards, two All-Star Game MVP Awards, two Gold Gloves, made 19 All-Star Game appearances and captured eight Silver Slugger Awards. However, he is best-known for his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played which made him baseball’s all-time “Iron Man.”

Since retiring from MLB after the 2001 season, Ripken transitioned into the business world. He is also an author and corporate speaker. Currently, Ripken runs Ripken Baseball, a youth baseball business that operates four tournament and instruction destinations called “The Ripken Experience,” in his hometown of Aberdeen, Mary;and; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida, at Disney World.

Ripken also serves as a sports diplomacy envoy for the U.S. Department of State and in that capacity has made goodwill trips to China, Japan, Nicaragua and the Czech Republic.

“The game I played for so many years has greatly benefitted from technological advances, and I cannot say enough about DraftKings’ importance as a catalyst, innovator and disruptor to enhance the game for modern baseball fans and others,” Ripken said in the release. “I am honored to bring my experience to DraftKings through this special adviser position and become part of a company that is already essential for fan engagement while still only scratching the surface of its full potential.”

In 2001, the Ripken family established the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to honor the family’s patriarch. Over the last two decades the foundation has grown nationally and has impacted more than 10 million kids in underserved communities. The foundation has constructed/donated 100 Youth Development Parks across the nation, as well as 65 STEM centers in elementary and middle schools.

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