FanDuel Grabs More NFL Team Deals, Gains Advantage On DraftKings
WSOP
Legal Sports Report

Advantage, FanDuel: DFS Site Now Has Deals With Nearly Half Of NFL Teams

FanDuel has signed “multi-year sponsorship agreements” with 15 NFL franchises, according to a report from USA Today, giving it a leg up on rival DraftKings in the daily fantasy sports market for football.

That’s a lot of franchises

USA Today and other media outlets are saying FanDuel has 14 or 15 new NFL franchise deals. But according to past reports and press releases, that number is actually 11; the site already had deals involving four of the 15 franchises reported. Those teams: The Washington Redskins, the St. Louis Rams, the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets.

It is not clear if the deals with these teams are actually new, renewals of previous agreements, or just the first time the deals have been publicized by FanDuel and the teams.

The 11 teams with new or previously unreported deals include:

  • The Buffalo Bills
  • The Cincinnati Bengals
  • The Cleveland Browns
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • The San Diego Chargers
  • The Indianapolis Colts
  • The Philadelphia Eagles
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars
  • The Detroit Lions
  • The Green Bay Packers
  • The Houston Texans

Legal Sports Report only found official announcements, so far, from the Bills and the Bucs.

USA Today also reported that a deal with the Chicago Bears is pending.

You can see all of the sponsorships that are currently known — NFL and otherwise — on our DFS sponsorship tracker.

So what’s in the deals?

In March, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy had said team deals would not extend past one year. But that could have allowed for multi-year deals for teams, with an annual opt-out clause. USA Today labeled these deals as “multi-year” ones.

According to the USA Today report, McCarthy said FanDuel is not considered an official “team sponsor.” From the story:

“A team sponsor is a company that can use the team logo or say, ‘We are the official (company) of the team,'” McCarthy said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. “That is not the case here. These companies are not team sponsors. Officially or unofficially. They do not have any designations. Teams have advertising arrangements from a variety of companies, but that doesn’t make every one of them a team sponsor.”

Other than the ability for FanDuel to use a team’s logo, it might be a case of semantics. Both the Bills and the Buccaneers termed the relationship with FanDuel as a “parntership,” which doesn’t sound that much different from a “sponsor” outside of PR and legal circles.

If the team deals are similar to deals announced in other sports, and the ones publicized by the Bills and the Bucs, here is what they likely consist of:

  • Dynamic (videoboard) and static in-stadium signage.
  • A presence in the teams’ online platforms.
  • A presence on TV and radio platforms.
  • FanDuel will be able to offer VIP experiences via contests for the teams it has partnered with.

FanDuel’s edge

The NFL, as a league, has not picked a side in the daily fantasy sports industry — unlike the NBA, MLB, and NHL. But FanDuel now has deals done with 15 of the 32 NFL franchises, compared with just three for DraftKings.

Clearly, the deals mean FanDuel now holds a competitive edge over DraftKings in the fantasy football market, with an official presence at almost half the NFL stadiums and in the teams’ online and other media platforms.

The big question that looms over the DFS industry: Will the NFL sign a deal as an official partner of a fantasy sports site? We handicapped that a bit last month.

Right now, the NFL appears to be in no rush to sign a deal. But with the pending entrance of both Yahoo and Amaya Gaming/PokerStars into the DFS market, clearly sites will be doing everything in their power to get a deal done with the league.

Photo by Mike Morbeck used under license CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.