- The Charlotte Hornets have named DraftKings as the team’s official daily fantasy sports partner.
- It is the first such deal for the NBA team.
- North Carolina technically has legal betting but it has been created as a ‘set aside’ for the two tribal owned/Caesars Entertainment run gaming properties in the state.
Sports betting is technically legal in North Carolina, but on such a limited basis that it doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned. The regulatory framework was created more to rein in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians–the tribe that owns the only two casinos in the state–while simultaneously prohibiting sports betting elsewhere in the state. It is a cynical example of partisan politicking at its lowest in which the economic well being of the state and freedom of its citizens to have access to sports betting have been completely ignored.
At some point, North Carolina will experience the same situation as every other state that has created a framework to enrich political cronies at the expense of every other interest in the state (eg: Montana) or relegated sports betting to a gimmick game for the lottery (Oregon, DC and too many others to mention). The more that the average Joe learns about sports betting in other states, the more he’ll start to wonder why his state doesn’t have a vibrant sports betting scene like Colorado that attracts investment, creates jobs and offers bettors a great wagering ecosystem.
Until then, however, the only quasi-betting activity available to most North Carolina residents is daily fantasy sports. In light of that, DraftKings has put itself in a very enviable position with a partnership between the DFS/sports betting provider and the NBA Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have named DraftKings as the ‘official DFS provider’ of the NBA franchise. Here’s how the press release announcing the deal explained it:
The Charlotte Hornets have named DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) as the exclusive Official Daily Fantasy Sports Partner of the franchise. The multi-year agreement will greatly increase DraftKings’ presence in North Carolina. Along with access to Hornets trademarks and logos, the deal provides that DraftKings-branded LED signage will be featured courtside and on the basket stanchion at Spectrum Center, in addition to logo displays on top of the backboards. The two companies will also collaborate on unique social promotions and content that further align the collective brands.
Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings, had these comments about the announcement:
“Charlotte Hornets basketball games are must-watch TV for the NBA, and we look forward to providing Hornets fans with a best-in-class gaming experience. We look forward to deepening our business relationship with the Hornets organization through this new agreement and showcasing DraftKings in North Carolina.”
Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield, gave his response:
“We’re excited to enter this partnership with DraftKings and bring its daily fantasy sports products to our great Hornets fans. Collaborating with DraftKings will allow us to offer our fans engaging new experiences from the leader in this emerging area.”
Ultimately, this type of relationship is a positive for sports betting in the macro. The more betting–and DFS is a proxy for sports betting–penetrates into the psyche of mainstream America the better. It’s also good for DraftKings to further build brand awareness by putting their logo in front of North Carolina NBA fans. There will be plenty who start wondering why they can’t bet on sports via DraftKings like fans in Colorado, New Jersey, etc. DraftKings can tell them to ask sleazy Governor Roy Cooper and he’ll no doubt have a good explanation. Cooper was a huge upgrade from bottom feeder Pat McCrory who was obsessed with telling people what bathroom they should use no matter how much it damaged the state. Still, he’s nothing special. Another benefit–DraftKings has deep pockets and will no doubt be doing some lobbying trying to get sports betting expanded in the Tar Heel State.