On Monday, the NHL announced a ‘multi-year’ deal that enshrines FanDuel as the league’s “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and official sports betting partner.” The lack of exclusivity on the sports betting side reflects the similar partnership the NHL signed with casino operator MGM Resorts last week.
The deal will allow FanDuel to offer DFS players exclusive NHL content and prizes, while also tailoring free-play single-game DFS contests for marquee NHL events. As for the real-money sports betting side, FanDuel will enjoy the “use of official category designations” intended to appeal to sports bettors in betting-friendly jurisdictions.
FanDuel also signed a separate sports betting deal with the New Jersey Devils, which has taken advantage of its state’s legal betting environment to secure gambling partnerships with William Hill and Caesars Entertainment. In addition to branding opportunities — including FanDuel’s logo embedded in the Devils’ ice surface — FanDuel plans to integrate its sports betting app with the team’s digital platforms to promote Live In-Play wagering to Devils fans.
While the NHL was once vociferously opposed to the very concept of sports betting, commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that the league had adopted a “progressive” approach given the new legal environment. Bettman said the league would continue to “work directly with the industry and focus on innovative opportunities for fan engagement.”
FanDuel Group CEO Matt King hailed the NHL’s “clear vision” in adapting to the new legal betting climate and called the partnerships “the perfect next step” as his company continues to morphy from its original DFS roots to a hybrid fantasy & betting beast.
In 2014, the NHL inked a partnership with FanDuel’s archrival DraftKings, which included the league taking an equity position in the company. While DraftKings is active in New Jersey’s legal betting market, it has so far lagged its longtime competitor FanDuel in expanding to other legal betting states.