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Volume 26 No. 181
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NFL Signs First Official DFS Sponsorship With DraftKings

The NFL has signed DraftKings to an exclusive deal making it the league's first official daily fantasy sports sponsor. Like Caesars' deal in January making it the NFL's inaugural casino partner, DraftKings is specifically prohibited from marketing its sports betting business with the NFL. However, the relationship can indirectly serve DraftKings' emerging sports book by keeping its brand front-of-center among football fans as legalized betting spreads. "Those guys came in strong a couple years ago, they bought a lot of media," said NFL Exec VP/Partnerships & CRO Renie Anderson. "But they were new to the marketplace, and for us it's important, when we partner with someone, that they have some establishment." The NFL expects to use the relationship to help it better understand how daily fantasy increases fan engagement. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said access to official league marks and footage will help the company stand out against competitors. DraftKings already is an official sponsor of the Patriots, Broncos and Cowboys. "The NFL is very careful about allowing people to use trademarks like Super Bowl, and we run contests where people can do things like win tickets to the Super Bowl. … Now we can actually say 'Super Bowl,'" Robins said. Terms were not disclosed, and specific plans for activation are still being developed. Both sides promised new offerings on the DraftKings app and DraftKings integrations across NFL media properties. DraftKings negotiated without an agency, Robins said.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: The Boston Globe's Michael Silverman writes this new deal "comes at a time when groundwork is being laid for the NFL to embrace sports betting, an activity well-suited to the NFL game and already enjoying a robust participation rate in both legal and illegal settings." ESPN.com's David Purdum notes the partnership does "not include promotional rights for DraftKings' traditional sports betting operations." However, the NFL secured its first betting partner anywhere in the globe last week when its agreed to a deal with Australia's Tabcorp. The AP's Ben Nuckols notes the NFL "remains the only major North American sports league not to designate a full-fledged sports betting partner." The NFL "hasn't closed off the possibility of such a deal and the partnership with DraftKings potentially gives the Boston-based firm an advantage."