NFL inks first daily fantasy sports partnership with DraftKings


nfl-draftkings-daily-fantasy-sports-partnerThe National Football League has named DraftKings its first official daily fantasy sports (DFS) partner, while insisting that the deal has nothing to do with actual sports betting.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in Thursday’s announcement, but the parties say it involves “exclusive sponsorship of the daily fantasy sports category with access to NFL branding and more across DraftKings’ suite of DFS products and content platforms.” However, the deal specifically “does not include any promotional rights for sports betting.”

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins called the deal “a defining moment in the industry,” while claiming that his company and the NFL “share a common vision around the future of fan engagement.” Renie Anderson, the NFL’s chief revenue officer, called DFS “a tremendous vehicle for fans of all types to deepen their engagement with the NFL.”

The NFL hasn’t always viewed DFS in a favorable light, having previously threatened to suspend players who attended Tony Romo’s fantasy conference at a Las Vegas casino. But hey, that was before the 2018 US Supreme Court ruling that sports betting was as American as apple pie, which led to the NFL’s Damascene conversion of the issue of gambling.

To recap just the past nine months, the NFL has named its first official casino sponsor (Caesars Entertainment), appointed an exclusive sports betting data provider and signed its first official wagering partnership, albeit with a betting firm literally on the other side of the world.

The NFL has apparently not yet developed the balls – round or oval – to sign a betting partnership with a US-based provider, although it’s hard to see how the DraftKings deal doesn’t get the league a little bit pregnant, given the proximity of the ‘sports betting’ tab right next to the ‘daily fantasy’ section of the company’s app.

The NFL has also yet to formally embrace online casino gambling, although the New York Jets are pushing the league in that direction. Last October, the Jets signed a deal with the online casino division of UK-listed gambling operator 888 Holdings and the parties announced this week that they’d re-upped for the 2019 NFL season.