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Fantasy Football, Eh? DraftKings Enters Into Partnership With CFL

DraftKings CFL
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For large swaths of 2015, FanDuel or DraftKings announced some sort of sponsorship deal almost weekly.

The pace of those deals slowed for a variety of reasons — one being that most leagues or teams were already partnered with one of the two largest daily fantasy sports sites.

But DraftKings inked a deal with a professional sports league this week — the Canadian Football League — and started offering contests based on CFL games.

Details of the DraftKings-CFL deal

The season kicks off on Thursday, and DraftKings is guaranteeing more than $100,000 in its CFL contests. That includes the top contest with $50,000 in prizes and a $27 entry fee.

While financial terms were not disclosed on the deal between the league and DraftKings, here is what we do know:

  • The DFS site and the league have an “advertising and promotional partnership to promote free to play DFS contests” based on CFL games.
  • The CFL will be “fully integrated” into the DraftKings platform, while DraftKings’ CFL fantasy contests will be promoted on the league’s media and promotional platforms.
  • DraftKings users will get chances to win tickets to games and “exclusive VIP CFL experiences.”

Jeffrey HaasDraftKings Chief International Officer, had this to say in a press release about the announcement:

“Canada continues to be a key and growing market for DraftKings, and our partnership with the CFL is another way for us to attract passionate Canadian sports fans. The CFL is a dynamic league that works perfectly for DFS players of all skill levels. Sports fans are going to love the challenge of setting their weekly CFL roster and taking a shot at winning some incredible prizes.”

Christina Litz, CFL Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Content:

“We’re pleased to form an advertising and promotional partnership with DraftKings that will elevate both of our brands. This new fantasy offering will give avid CFL fans and sports fans new to our league an opportunity to deepen their engagement with our game. It’s an important part of our strategy to serve our existing fan base better than ever before at the same time we attract new fans, including the next generation of fans.”

Expansion outside of the U.S.

While DraftKings already offered its contests its DFS contests in Canada, the platform is generally targeted at Americans. (DraftKings does offer NHL contests and has a partnership with the NHL in place. It also has an agreement with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.)

Earlier this year, DraftKings entered the UK market with a gambling license. The site also announced deals with several English Premier League teams.

Once upon a time, DraftKings was working on an “international road map” for expansion beyond North America. Such expansion has likely been slowed by dealing with legal, regulatory and cost concerns with its existing product in the US.

FanDuel is planning a UK rollout this summer.

Another league in the fold for DraftKings

DraftKings has aggressively sought out partnerships with leagues, giving up equity in exchange for deals in the case of Major League Baseball and the NHL.

It also has also done deals with NASCAR and Major League Soccer. A deal with the mixed martial arts organization UFC ended in 2015.

FanDuel’s one major league deal is with the NBA.

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.
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