On Tuesday, the FanDuel Group – the US division of UK gambling giant Flutter Entertainment – announced a 10-year deal to become the exclusive sports betting partner of local MLS club D.C. United. The deal will also see FanDuel open a sportsbook at the club’s Audi Field.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Sportico reported that FanDuel will pay D.C. United an annual fee plus an undisclosed share of betting turnover from the sportsbook, which FanDuel hopes to open sometime next year, pending regulatory approval.
More elephantine readers will recall that D.C. United signed a similar partnership with Caesars earlier this year. Sportico quoted Sam Porter, the team’s chief strategy officer, saying the club had ‘unwound’ its Caesars deal, based on the view that FanDuel was ‘a better cultural fit’ with the team.
It’s unclear what ‘cultural’ differences caused D.C. United and Caesars to go their separate ways, but Caesars is in the process of merging with William Hill, which operates a retail sportsbook at DC’s Capital One Arena, home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the Washington Mystics of the Women’s NBA.
FanDuel’s deal doesn’t involve getting its logo on the team’s shirtsleeves like Caesars enjoyed in the most recent MLS season, but FanDuel will enjoy the usual marketing opportunities at Audi Field.
FanDuel’s eligibility to operate retail betting within DC it will require the approval of the DC Lottery, which oversees all gaming activity in the District and holds an Intralot-powered online betting monopoly that is universally loathed for its crap betting odds.
FanDuel currently operates retail betting operations in nine US states, with mobile betting on offer in seven states. The DC United deal marks the company’s first such pact with an MLS club and FanDuel CEO Matt King said his group aims to provide “an in-person sports gaming experience other parts of the US have come to know and love.”