DraftKings to play ball with three more NBA teams


DraftKings is prepared to help the NBA capitalize on legal sports wagers.  The U.S.-based sports gambling and daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator announced last week that it had signed new partnerships with several NBA teams as it continues to capture the basketball betting market.  The Boston Celtics, the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers are now playing ball with DraftKings.

draftkings-to-play-ball-with-three-more-nba-teamsThe relationship between the pro basketball league and the operator dates back several years.  DraftKings had signed up two NBA teams – the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings – in 2015 and moved forward with additional deals.  The biggest of these was the agreement signed last November between the league and the company that paved the way for DraftKings to become an authorized sports gambling partner.

With a tight relationship between the two entities, it’s no surprise that DraftKings is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.  Ezra Kucharz, the company’s chief business officer, said in an announcement about the new partnerships, “It is with great enthusiasm that we announce these multi-year partnerships with the Celtics, 76ers, and Pacers. The NBA represents DraftKings’ second-most-popular sport, and we are thrilled to offer our fanbase a continually unique and authentic sports gaming product.  Each of these partnerships [represents] a common strategy and stress the importance NBA teams and DraftKings place on fan engagement and overall customer experience.”

Because sports gambling laws vary from state to state, each partnership had to be meticulously drawn up and scrutinized to ensure it wouldn’t be in violation of any laws.  The deal with the Celtics is only for fantasy sports since Massachusetts, the state the team calls home, has still not legalized sports wagers.  However, DraftKings becomes the team’s Official DFS partner and will be able to offer various marketing promotions.

Celtics President Rich Gotham states about the new arrangement, “Daily fantasy sports players are amongst the most highly engaged NBA fans.  We’re happy to collaborate with our hometown partner, DraftKings, to serve Celtics fans through a variety of group activations and game day elements, including the presentation of our starting lineup across social channels.”

With the Pacers agreement, DraftKings is both the official DFS and sports gambling partner.  Given the operator’s top position in the state for sports gambling, this new deal is certainly going to help it see even better results.  Coming up, thanks to the agreement, is a DraftKings-branded post-game show and several other high-profile activities, such as a player meet-and-greet, the chance to be an honorary captain of the team and opportunities to play scrimmage games on the Pacers’ practice court.

Says Pacers Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson, “We are delighted to welcome DraftKings into the Indiana Pacers’ family of corporate partnerships.  With prominent in-arena presence, presenting sponsorship of our popular post-game show hosted by Eddie White and other elements, our fans are certain to understand the strength and value of this partnership for both of us. It truly is a win-win.”

Just like with the Pacers, DraftKings will also be the official DFS and sports gambling partner for the 76ers.  However, it will also be the franchise’s official online casino partner.  The team has a standing agreement with Caesars Entertainment, signed in 2018, as well as another with Parx Casino, which was signed last October.

Adds 76ers President Chris Heck, “Today marks a new, exciting chapter in the long-standing relationship between two of the sports industry’s most innovative companies, whose dedication to fan experience consistently raises the bar in the sports partnership space.  The 76ers are proud to continue to stand alongside DraftKings as we together create and amplify expanded and differentiated opportunities for fans to engage with our team, dynamic players and sport.”

All of the deals are multi-year deals and will see a lot of cross-branding initiatives launched.  Signing all three agreements so close together had to have been a monumental task, and shows the increased attention being paid to sports gambling in the US as more states continue to legalize the activity.