The NFL has been giving fairly mixed signals when it comes to legal sports betting within the U.S. All of the other major American sports leagues have found a domestic gaming partner already, but the NFL doesn’t yet have one. The NHL, NBA, and MLB are all working with MGM Resorts, while FanDuel is also partnered with the NBA and NHL.
As for the NFL, they are currently sponsored by Caesars Entertainment, but they are not betting partners. Oddly enough, there is an NFL team that has a sports betting partner; the New York Jets and MGM Resorts. The NFL does have quite a lengthy history of opposing legal sports betting, but that may only apply to the U.S. market.
Last week, they formed an alliance with Tabcorp as their first official betting partner. However, Tabcorp is a company based out of Australia and their deal only allows them to broadcast NFL games and NFL RedZone for sports betting purposes in Australia, not the U.S. Admittedly, the country of Australia does have a healthy appreciation for American football and sports betting is fully legal there.
DraftKings enters the picture
Fast forward to this week and the NFL is making another deal with a company looking to engage in sports betting, DraftKings. While DraftKings does offer sports betting in one state, New Jersey, their deal with the NFL does not include anything related to sports betting. Instead, the agreement is purely for daily fantasy sports (DFS).
This deal for DraftKings will stretch across multiple years and gives them the exclusive right to sponsor the NFL and use their branding for DFS purposes. Even if the deal is strictly for DFS, this is still a huge deal for DraftKings due to the popularity of the NFL.
Additionally, the deal also indicates that both parties will work together to help create content for DraftKings. As a final kicker, the NFL will also corporate DraftKings into their media presence. These inclusions will be a huge benefit to DraftKings, something that they will surely need considering that they have a close competitor in FanDuel.
The biggest reason for their partnership lies in fan engagement. The NFL did indicate that their recent partnership with Tabcorp had this intention in mind, and their agreement with DraftKings is no different. Placing a wager on a sport has a positive effect on viewership, but so too does DFS.
Millions of football fans already engage in DFS activities for added enjoyment, but now they have an official company they can turn to for another level of immersion. More than 80% of DraftKing’s customer base have already participated in some contest related to the NFL. Considering that DraftKings is used by more than 11 million people, there’s no question that both parties are on the right path to giving NFL fans exactly what they want.