NBA DFS Deal Covers Free Contests In Europe, Asia, Latine America
Legal Sports Report

NBA Inks New Deal With Fantasy Sports Operator PlayON — Not FanDuel Or DraftKings — For International Markets

NBA fantasy sports
The NBA inked a new deal with a daily fantasy sports operator. And it isn’t FanDuel or DraftKings.

The NBA and international DFS operator PlayON announced a multiyear partnership on Tuesday.

PlayON and the NBA, at a glance

The deal makes PlayON the “Official Daily Fantasy Partner” of the NBA in multiple markets throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia.

“With basketball’s global appeal, we are always looking for new ways to bring authentic NBA experiences to our fans across the world,” said Salvatore LaRocca, NBA President, Global Partnerships in a press release.  “Our partnership with PlayON provides us an opportunity to deepen our engagement with our international audience, and bring these fans closer to the game.”

“PlayON is delighted to be partnering with the NBA to deliver Official Daily Fantasy NBA Games,” said Killian Jones, PlayON founder and CEO.  “The NBA’s global reach and daily fixture schedule make it an ideal fit for daily fantasy. We look forward to working closely with the NBA to deliver innovative sports entertainment experiences to basketball fans around the world.”

PlayON already had a deal with the European Tour in golf to be that group’s official DFS provider, the only official partnership in one of the most popular sports for DFS.

The details of the NBA-PlayON deal

Jurisdictions where the NBA deal is in place include:

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • The Philippines

PlayON currently holds licenses to operate paid-entry contests in the UK, Ireland and Australia. It does not operate paid contests in the US. The free-to-play games will be tailored to local audiences and offered in local languages.

The deal has two key aspects for PlayON.

“First is intellectual property: Being the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the NBA enables PlayON to use the NBA logo, NBA team logos and player images,” Jones told Legal Sports Report.

“Second is distribution: A major aspect of our deal relates to working with a number of the NBA’s local partners,” Jones explained. “The NBA’s local partners have a strong presence in their respective markets and we are looking forward to working closely with each of them to build engagement with the localized daily fantasy NBA game.”

Wait, what about FanDuel and the NBA, and why PlayON?

FanDuel is already a partner of the NBA, as the latter has equity in the former, dating back to 2015. It does not appear that the PlayON deal affects that relationship in anyway.

FanDuel also powers a free-to-play game for the NBA in the US, called InPlay.

So why a separate deal with PlayON and not one of the “big two” in DFS?

PlayON offers contests already in international sports like cricket, rugby and Australian rules football. That’s in addition to more standard fare like soccer, golf and basketball.

PlayON is likely attractive because of its already international base of “registered customers from over 100 countries,” per the company. DraftKings and FanDuel are largely US-centric companies that have just started expanding to the UK and other markets, like Germany.

The PlayON deal is the latest sign that the NBA is highly invested in the future of DFS and promoting it, in the US and beyond.

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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.