Not all daily fantasy sports innovations involve new contest formats.
DraftKings, for example, is starting to morph into a hybrid platform for both content and gaming. Late last year, it partnered with EuroLeague basketball, offering customers the ability to live stream those games directly through DraftKings.
It looks like we can expect to see more of that going forward.
Today, the Arena Football League announced that it, too, has entered into a partnership with DraftKings. It’s a broad one, centered around a couple new ideas in gaming content.
DraftKings partners with AFL
Under the new partnership, DraftKings will become the AFL’s exclusive daily fantasy partner. This means you’ll see AFL contests in the lobby, as well as live broadcast of games within the client. Both are expected to launch in 2019.
In a press release, league chairman Ron Jaworski discussed the plans for content-based gaming:
The partnerships we’re announcing today give fans a whole new range of ways to get in on the action of arena football. Today, we’re bringing fans even closer to the game by giving them access to more data, creating more intensity in each individual moment of the game and introducing some cutting-edge gaming options.
DraftKings will also become a league-wide marketing partner of the AFL.
Strategies align for DK, AFL
At a glance, the partnership appears to be mutually beneficial.
DraftKings has been gravitating toward content, securing broadcast deals with two professional sports leagues. They’re relatively small leagues — the AFL and EuroLeague — but that’s part of the draw. There aren’t many other options for US fans who want to watch EuroLeague games. It’s a way to keep current users interested and potentially attract a few new ones with niche interests.
“Combining daily fantasy and live streaming is a powerful combination for providing compelling content for our customers,” said Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ chief business officer.
As for AFL, Jaworski’s words make it clear that this is all about engaging fans. And DraftKings is just one part of what appears to be a much larger strategy. As part of the news, the AFL also announced partnerships with data giant Sportradar, Facebook and the Vegas Stats and Information Network.
The league says that these partnerships will create a “tremendous boost in the amount of game and player data available to fans.”
AFL and sports betting?
Some of the AFL’s new content will even be dedicated to sports betting:
VSiN, through its partnership with the league, will create dynamic content that will give fans more data and information about teams, players, matchups and more, to make every fan a smarter, savvier sports consumer. Fans will be able to tune in to VSiN-produced pregame shows and segments each week that preview betting odds and trends, as well as other co-produced live content focused on in-game betting angles.
Whether or not this catches on with customers, AFL deserves credit for trying to keep up with tech-friendly fans. Prior to these partnerships, it had already been exploring some unconventional methods. Now it’s making an effort to reach more fans through expanded content and gaming.
The league is badly in need of a boost, too. It’s existed for 31 years, and it currently supports just four teams.