Upstart Daily Fantasy Sports Site Continues To Spend Big
Legal Sports Report

D.C. Power Play: DFS Site Draft Ops Beats DraftKings, FanDuel For Washington Deals

Draft Ops Washington

Daily fantasy sports site Draft Ops has secured a deal with the NHL, NBA and WNBA teams from Washington, D.C., beating out industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

What we know about the deal

The deal was first reported by Forbes’ Darren Heitner. According to a press release from Monumental Sports & Entertainment  on the deal, it is a “five-year, eight-figure” partnership that includes relationships with the Washington Capitals (NHL), Wizards (NBA) and Mystics.

Some of the details of the deal:

  • There will be a 3,500-square foot Draft Ops Fantasy Lounge at Verizon Center, the home of the teams.
  • Draft Ops will appear on the Mystics’ jerseys.
  • Draft Ops will the “training camp presenting partner” of the Capitals, Mystics and Wizards.
  • Draft Ops will receive signage throughout the Verizon Center and promotion online and through social media via the teams.

It leaves FanDuel as the only other DFS site with a sponsorship deal in the D.C. area; it has a relationship with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

What they said about the deal

Patrick Duffy, senior vice president of corporate partnerships for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, said this in the press release:

“We are excited to partner with Draft Ops as a legacy partner and our exclusive Fantasy Sports Partner“Draft Ops’ activation across all three teams, Monumental Network and the arena will provide another destination for all of our fans and continue to enhance the game-day experience.”

And Draft Ops CEO Ron Doumani:

“The Capitals, Mystics and Wizards are world-class teams that play in a top-grossing venue in the country and in such an influential city. It’s exciting to partner with them since they are a diverse partnership group within the sports landscape.”

Draft Ops continues to be aggressive

Draft Ops has made it clear it’s not content vying for a small piece of the DFS market, outspending every DFS site not named DraftKings or FanDuel.

Earlier this year, the company did a deal with Barclays Center in New York, which included a partnership with the NHL’s New York Islanders. It also partnered with the Anaheim Ducks, also of the NHL.

And despite a declining number of opportunities for team sponsorships — a vast majority of the teams in the NBA, NHL and NFL already have deals with either FanDuel or DraftKings — Draft Ops appears to be more than willing to pay to secure deals. And this likely isn’t its last one.

Draft Ops also has started buying national advertising in TV spots that feature NFL Network personality and radio host Rich Eisen. The site purchased advertising on Monday Night Football this week and also appeared on NFL programming on DirecTV

Why the Verizon Center and the Washington market is a good get

Draft Ops gets a lot of bang for its buck, getting placement in an arena that is multi-purpose and the home to three pro teams. The site also receives exposure in college baseketball, as Georgetown’s men’s team calls the Verizon Center home, as well.

Verizon Center is also a major music venue, as one of the top five grossing venues in the country according to Billboard.

Forbes’ Heitner also added this interesting tidbit:

A final interesting point about Draft Ops’ new contract with Monumental Sports & Entertainment is the fantasy operator’s multi-use plan for the fantasy sports lounge in the Verizon Center.  Draft Ops contemplates using the lounge not only for engagement with customers, but also as a forum for future events on the fantasy sports legal landscape, which due to it being conveniently located in the United States’ capital, should include a panel of prominent politicians.

The latest ‘fantasy lounge’

The trend of installing fantasy lounges in sporting venues continues to heat up, as the number of known fantasy lounges is now at 15. This is the second lounge for Draft Ops.

DraftKings began setting the market, signing a deal with Madison Square Garden in New York City earlier this year. DraftKings also recently opened lounges in three NFL stadiums: the homes of the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs.

Photo by Keith Allison 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.