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FanDuel Will Get Arizona Market Access In Partnership With NBA Phoenix Suns

James Murphy
by in NBA on
  • FanDuel has announced a market access deal with the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
  • The move comes shortly on the heels of a deal between DraftKings and the PGA Tour for Arizona market access.
  • FanDuel will offer mobile betting throughout Arizona as well as run a retail sportsbook in the Suns’ arena in downtown Phoenix.

Arizona now has a pair of sportsbooks set to serve the newly regulated market. Earlier this week, DraftKings announced a market access deal with the PGA Tour along with plans to build a retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale. Next up, we’ve got FanDuel who have just announced a market access deal with the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Arizona regulatory framework gives professional sports organizations the ability to offer sports betting and they’ve wasted no time getting in on the gravy train.

FanDuel will obtain mobile access through the Suns and will operate a state of the art retail sportsbook at the Phoenix Suns Arena in downtown Phoenix. The venue was previously known as the Talking Stick Resort Arena but the naming rights deal between the casino and the team ended in November 2020. The venue was briefly known as PHX Arena and it’ll retain the generic name ‘Phoenix Suns Arena’ until a new naming rights sponsor is found (why not FanDuel?).

Here’s the announcement from a press release issued by the Suns. If you’ve already guessed that it’s all about ‘fan engagement’ go to the head of the class:

With the historic decision by the Arizona State Legislature and Governor Doug Ducey to pass legislation that legalizes fantasy sports and sports wagering within the state, the Phoenix Suns and FanDuel Group have announced a multi-year market access partnership designating America’s #1 Sportsbook operator as the Suns’ Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Sports Partner. As part of this new commercial arrangement, FanDuel will open a luxury sportsbook retail location inside the Phoenix Suns Arena.

The legalization of mobile sports betting will forever change the sports and entertainment landscape in the state and opens the door for a fan engagement revolution that will be led by the Phoenix Suns, the Valley’s first major sports team, and FanDuel, the leading online sports gaming company in the U.S. and an Authorized Gaming Operator and Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the NBA.

Phoenix Suns President & CEO Jason Rowley had this comment. I thought about making a game where I drink any time someone says ‘fan engagement’ but I can’t write from under the table:

“This is a watershed moment for the Suns organization and our fans. FanDuel is the perfect partner as our missions are fully aligned.  Simply put, FanDuel is committed to making sports more exciting while the Suns are focused on delivering exciting sports and entertainment and engaging fans at the highest level possible.”

Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group CMO, is a serious pro at giving press release comments:

“As we gear up to bring our best-in-class online and retail offerings to the state of Arizona, this is a momentous time for FanDuel, the Suns, and Suns fans alike. We’re excited to open a luxury sportsbook within Phoenix Suns Arena, as the beginning of a long-term and innovative collaboration that will have a lasting impact on the state.”

The press release also includes this enthusiastic assessment of mobile betting in Arizona:

Because of the ease and accessibility to mobile betting, Arizona has an opportunity to become a booming market for sports betting. Mobile sports betting has been an enormous catalyst behind the increase of interest and engagement around the country. With the added offering of mobile betting to fans in Arizona, fans from around the state can engage with their favorite teams wherever they are.

Arizona sports betting already ranks in the upper third among US states but only because so many states have done it so badly. From a player’s perspective, their regulatory framework isn’t nearly as good as Colorado or Wyoming. From a mobile perspective, Arizona now has better sports betting than Nevada though Nevada’s retail sports betting is on another level. Seriously, were it not for the minuscule population of Wyoming it would be destined to become the epicenter of American sports betting.

Here’s the 4-1-1 about the in-arena sports betting experience:

Subject to regulatory approvals, the comprehensive partnership will include the opening of a luxury retail sportsbook inside Phoenix Suns Arena, further solidifying it as the Southwest’s preeminent sports and entertainment destination. The luxury retail sportsbook is expected to be completed in time for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Stretching over 6,300 square feet and outfitted with spacious lounge seating, the FanDuel Sportsbook at Phoenix Suns Arena will be fans’ one-stop-shop to enjoy Suns games and other sporting events around the world while placing wagers on the action. The FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge will be open daily for patrons to place wagers on a wide variety of events throughout the year.

In addition to a full-service ticket window and self-service kiosks within the sportsbook, fans will be able to place bets throughout Phoenix Suns Arena on their mobile devices during game days and other hosted sporting events. The Suns’ partnership with Verizon has allowed Phoenix Suns Arena to be equipped with the 5G Ultra Wideband network for seamless mobile transactions through the official FanDuel Sportsbook App.

There’s been a whole slew of states to get into the sports betting game lately with a few–notabaly Arizona, Maryland and Wyoming–actually doing it well. I’m still trying to digest all of the regulatory information and we’ll talk a lot more about what’s ahead and what it all means in the weeks to come.

As far as the FanDuel/Phoenix Suns deal I think it’s great. The more sports betting gets ‘normalized’ into the mainstream the better for all of us. More importantly, the more states that ‘get it right’ the greater the pressure on the way too many states that have ‘got it wrong’ to go back to the drawing board and design a sports betting ecosystem for the good of their citizens, not their financial and political cronies.

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