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FanDuel And MLS Soccer Side D.C. United Announce Partnership Deal

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • FanDuel and D.C. United have announced a multi-year partnership deal.
  • FanDuel becomes the ‘exclusive sports betting sponsor’ of the MLS team.
  • As part of the deal, FanDuel will open a retail sportsbook at Audi Field in 2021.

The sports betting scene in Washington DC has been a grease fire but there is at least one interesting component–the provision to license retail sportsbooks at the city’s pro sports venues. The latest DC area team to announce plans to open a betting facility at their home venue is D.C. United of the Major League Soccer circuit. That is one of the provisions of a deal that has been announced jointly by D.C. United and FanDuel Group.

FanDuel has leveraged their daily fantasy sports background to become one of the big players in the still developing US sports betting scene. The partnership deal with D.C. United represents their first such arrangement with a MLS soccer team. As part of the deal, FanDuel will be designated the ‘exclusive sports betting sponsor’ of D.C. United. The more interesting part of the deal is the plan to open what is described as a ‘world class sportsbook’ at D.C. United’s home stadium, Audi Field. Here’s how the sportsbook is described in a press release announcing the partnership:

D.C. United and FanDuel Group plan to debut a world-class FanDuel Sportsbook retail experience in one of the current club areas in Audi Field in 2021, pending licensing and regulatory approvals from the DC Lottery.

Upon its debut, the world-class retail FanDuel Sportsbook will feature various betting windows and self-service betting terminals available to sports fans 365 days a year. The FanDuel Sportsbook will feature bets on all major U.S. sports, including professional soccer, baseball, football, basketball, golf, boxing, motorsports racing and more.

Sam Porter, Chief Strategy Officer of D.C. United, is excited to be working with one of the US sports betting leaders:

“D.C. United is looking forward to the opportunity of working with a first-rate operator in this new and exciting space. The FanDuel Sportsbook is best-in-class and we believe their expertise, technology, and product will provide our fans, guests at Audi Field, and the Buzzard Point neighborhood a full-slate of entertainment options.”

Matt King, CEO of FanDuel Group is looking forward to bringing his company to the US capital:

“As we continue to expand our nationwide footprint, joining forces with one of the MLS’ most iconic clubs allows us to bring America’s #1 Sportsbook to the nation’s capital. We’re partnering with D.C. United to elevate the fan experience at Audi Field and bring the DMV area an in-person sports gaming experience other parts of the US have come to know and love from FanDuel.”

FanDuel currently operates 12 retail sportsbooks in nine states. They’re operational in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. They also offer mobile sports betting in Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

D.C. United had originally planned to partner with Caesars Entertainment for their on-site sportsbook but has changed their plan for reasons unknown. Here’s how the Washington Post described the situation:

D.C. United will partner with FanDuel on its long-delayed sportsbook at Audi Field, a change from the MLS team’s plan to collaborate with Caesars Entertainment.

The soccer organization had aimed to open the sportsbook this past spring as part of a partnership with Caesars that also included the gaming company’s logo on the right sleeve of the team’s game jersey all season. The novel coronavirus pandemic further delayed those plans. The relationship with Caesars, people close to the situation said, will end this year.

United officials did not want to comment on the Caesars situation. A Caesars spokesman did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

This quote makes the situation sound a lot more sinister than it actually is. When D.C. United originally partnered with Caesars in November 2019 they were an independent company that ran their own sports betting operation. Since then they’ve merged with Eldorado Resorts. As part of that deal, sports betting operations at Caesars Entertainment properties have been taken over by William Hill. It’s likely as simple as the soccer team not wanting to go forward with Caesars now that the people they signed the deal with are no longer there.

Worth noting that William Hill operates the sportsbook at the Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals of the NHL and Washington Wizards of the NBA. The desire to not go with the same sports betting provider as the other DC teams could have also played a part.

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