SBD/November 10, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

NHL Signs Two-Year Deal With DraftKings As Rise Of Daily Fantasy Games Continues

The NHL has signed a two-year North American partnership with DraftKings that makes the company the league’s official daily fantasy game. Financial terms of the deal, which was announced this morning, were not disclosed. The deal gives DraftKings prominent brand placement across the NHL’s digital platforms, including NHL.com, the NHL mobile application and the league’s social media properties. Additional activations in the deal include DraftKings serving as the presenting sponsor of daily video previews on NHL.com for regular-season games, fantasy segments on the NHL Network’s “NHL Live,” and dasherboard signs at NHL tentpole events such as the Winter Classic. Yahoo remains the league’s partner for season-long fantasy play. “Fantasy sports are such an important fabric of all sports, especially for the passionate fans,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL Exec VP/Global Partnerships. “This daily category is obviously a growing one, and from a category standpoint, we wanted to find a partner that would not only embrace the league’s fan base, but also look at the league as a great marketing and branding platform.” Wachtel added that the NHL had been looking into partnerships in the daily fantasy category for about a year, noting that the league wanted to feel fully comfortable with how the games worked before signing a deal. The NHL will offer only free games that award fan-experience prizes; the league has no interest in moving into the paid space, Wachtel said. For DraftKings, the deal adds to an NHL portfolio that includes seven exclusive team-level deals with the Bruins, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Red Wings, Kings, Blues and Rangers. These partnerships provide dasherboard ads and additional elements such as DraftKings-sponsored fantasy reports on the teams' websites. Jeremy Elbaum, VP/Business Development for DraftKings, said the company is looking into more team relationships now that DraftKings has a league deal (Ian Thomas, Staff Writer).

FANTASY SPORTS, REAL MONEY: In N.Y., Justin Tasch wrote daily fantasy sports "are on a meteoric rise." About 41 million people play fantasy sports, and of those, about 3% "partake in daily leagues, a number expected to increase significantly over the next several years." Daily leagues "are growing so fast they are revolutionizing the industry." FanDuel "recently struck up a partnership" with the Nets, and DraftKings has deals with the Patriots and MLB. DraftKings "takes a flat commission on each contest, typically 6-9%, but says that can vary based on the type of contest, while FanDuel’s cut is 9-10%." Both companies "are flourishing." FanDuel garnered $70M in its "most recent round of funding with investments from Shamrock, NBC Sports and KKR, about a week after" DraftKings raised $41M "in its own funding efforts." FanDuel "pays out more than" $10M per week, and DraftKings has a top weekly prize of $1M (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/9).
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