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NBA Announces DraftKings, FanDuel As ‘Co-Official Sports Betting Partners’

James Murphy
by in NBA on
  • The NBA has named DraftKings and FanDuel as ‘Co-Official Sports Betting Partners’.
  • DraftKings had previously been an ‘Authorized Gaming Partner’ of the NBA.
  • FanDuel was previously an ‘Authorized Gaming Partner’ of the NBA along with the league’s ‘Official Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Partner’.

Sports betting has existed for a long time without the official imprimatur of leagues, teams and mainstream media. In the new world of US regulated sports betting, however, there has been a mad rush by any type of sports or media related entity to grab some cash–and a growing number of sports betting operators willing to oblige them. On one level it makes sense and is good for the industry. With the steady growth of the US betting industry stagnating due to political cronyism, government corruption, bureaucratic incompetence and idiotic regulatory structures it’s incumbent upon sportsbooks to do something until new markets open up. There is some logic in using time and resources to build brand awareness and cultivate powerful allies from other industries. It’s also good for another reason–at some point, citizens of the more backwards jurisdictions will start to wonder why they don’t have the same sports betting options as other states. On the other hand, however, there’s little data to establish the efficacy of official partnerships as a promotional tool–let alone a clear ‘return on investment’. At the end of the day, a sportsbook makes money by taking bets and not by signing promotional partnerships.

That said, you’ll definitely see this these type of relationships continue for the foreseeable future. A couple of high profile partnership deals were announced today as the National Basketball Association (NBA) named DraftKings and FanDuel as ‘Co-Official Sports Betting Partners’. The NBA has been extremely active trying to leverage sports betting for new revenue streams and–of course–‘fan engagement’. League commissioner Adam Silver was one of the first bigtime sports execs to see the potential of sports betting even before the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. The league was quick to sign on ‘Authorized Gaming Providers’, allow teams to broker deals with sports betting companies and even include some betting related content on the NBA’s official website. The NBA has 15 national authorized gaming operators along with nine local authorized operators.

Here’s the NBA’s explanation of what DraftKings and FanDuel get out of the deal from the announcement press release:

The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced multi year expanded partnerships making DraftKings (Nasdaq: DKNG) and FanDuel Group co-official sports betting partners of the NBA. Both companies will have expansive rights to integrate NBA assets throughout their sports betting and daily fantasy sports platforms.

As part of the expanded relationships, DraftKings and FanDuel will continue to utilize official NBA betting data and league marks and logos across their sports betting and free-to-play game offerings. In addition, beginning with the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season, DraftKings and FanDuel will create and feature NBA content that includes game highlights across their various content platforms.  FanDuel and DraftKings will also become sports betting partners of the NBA in Canada, where they both plan to launch later this season.

Scott Kaufman-Ross, Senior Vice President, Head of Gaming & New Business Ventures, NBA, had this to say about the deal, FanDuel and DraftKings:

“DraftKings and FanDuel are market leaders who have been incredible partners in engaging with the millions of NBA fans who enjoy fantasy and betting. DraftKings and FanDuel sit at the center of the continued convergence between media and sports betting, and, together, we are excited to bring these unique content experiences to our fans.”

FanDuel will now become the exclusive presenting partner of the weekly NBABet Show each Monday night on NBA TV. In addition, fans can also choose to display FanDuel odds on the NBA.com website. The company also gets data rights, trademark rights and other considerations. In addition, FanDuel also announced a partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), giving the company rights to feature active NBA player imagery in its creative and within highlights distributed across FanDuel’s branded platforms, apps, social media, and broadcast channels. Here’s what Amy Howe, President & CEO, FanDuel Group, says about the new upgraded partnership with the NBA:

“FanDuel’s partnership with the NBA has been a cornerstone of our success for many years, and together we have revolutionized what is possible in a partnership between a professional sports league and a sports gaming operator. As we move into the next phase of our relationship to include the NBPA, we are excited to once again reimagine how we engage basketball fans.

The NBA’s Kaufman-Ross even dropped a quote about FanDuel individually:

“Throughout our seven-year partnership, we have consistently worked with FanDuel to innovate together around the fan experience. This expanded relationship marks the latest chapter of our story, and we look forward to leveraging these new initiatives to continue to engage fans in new ways.”

As did Que Gaskins, interim President of THINK450, the partnership and innovation engine of the NBPA, who had these comments about FanDuel:

“We are excited to partner with FanDuel to bring more opportunities for our players to engage with new communities of fans and to create unmissable moments and collaborations in basketball culture.”

DraftKings will now become the exclusive presenting partner of NBABet Stream, the NBA’s betting-focused telecast on NBA League Pass and the NBA TV App.  NBABet Stream presented by DraftKings will air its first game this Friday, November 5.  In addition, DraftKings will activate on-site at tentpole NBA events, including the NBA All-Star Game, Rising Stars, NBA All-Star Saturday Night and NBA Draft presented by State Farm. Here’s the comment from Ezra Kucharz, Chief Business Officer at DraftKings:

“The NBA season only just tipped off, and yet we have already seen the immediate impact of the sport among our customer base with significant reengagement along with healthy new betting activity across all of our states, All of this signals the rising demand for NBA basketball in its 75th anniversary season among sports bettors and daily fantasy players, and we are pleased to continuously collaborate with the league on new fan-centric platforms like our NBABet Stream integration.”

To keep things fair, the NBA’s Kaufman-Ross singled out DraftKings for these accolades:

“DraftKings has demonstrated a clear commitment to strategically investing at the intersection of betting and content,” said Scott , Senior Vice President, Head of Gaming & New Business Ventures, NBA. “We are excited to be expanding our relationship to include content initiatives like NBABet Stream to engage NBA fans in unique ways.”

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