Yesterday, FanDuel and the WNBA announced a multi-year expansion of their existing partnership. The deal will “transform the way sports fans experience WNBA games,” according to press.
The announcement comes just after the first anniversary of the union, which made FanDuel the first DFS site to offer WNBA contests. Last season’s contests generated 2.2 million entries.
This season’s contests are live in the FanDuel lobby, just in time for the tipoff of the 2018 campaign. The biggest one for opening night carries a $4 entry and a $20,000 prize pool.
FanDuel/WNBA deal at a glance
Here’s what’s included from FanDuel’s perspective:
- Status as WNBA’s “official one-day fantasy partner”
- Rights to stream select WNBA games
- WNBA content incorporated in platform
The first item was already in place from the partnership last year, but the last two are brand new. There will be single-game contests for the WNBA, perpetuating the new trend in DFS.
And this line sticks out: “The WNBA will become the blueprint for the ultimate fantasy sports experience.”
The DFS blueprint?
Here’s the rest of the blueprint paragraph:
By the 2019 WNBA season, FanDuel users will be able to pick, follow, and watch their WNBA fantasy teams, all in one integrated experience via the FanDuel app or website. In addition, users can experience premium WNBA content, such as nightly highlight packages, and win exclusive WNBA experiences, all on the FanDuel platform.
Cool. That’s starting to sound more like a more comprehensive integration between sports and fantasy sports.
DFS operators have been moving in this direction, you may have noticed. DraftKings has new content partnerships in place with the Arena Football League and EuroLeague Basketball that each include streaming components. PlayON, which serves Europe and Australia, is aligned with Formula 1 in a similar capacity. It plans to enter the US market soon, too.
Even the NBA is separately courting this concept. Its broadcast partnership with Turner Sports includes an over-the-top platform called Bleacher Report Live, which aggregates scores and streams into one console. During the launch party, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke freely for visions about sports betting microtransactions within a similar interface.
It’s pretty hard to avoid drawing a parallel to OTT betting platforms abroad.
Okay, there might be sports betting
We can’t talk about FanDuel anymore without talking about Paddy Power Betfair.
The UK bookmaking giant announced plans to acquire the site this week, in a rumored deal in the hundreds of millions targeting the US sports betting market. FanDuel has shown an appetite for sports betting in recent months, and this acquisition opens up a world of possibilities.
It makes a lot of sense for PPB, too. In FanDuel, it gets one of the DFS leaders holding a database of millions of players. A good chunk of those will make easy converts over to sports betting.
PPB also inherits a couple league partnerships, including this expanded deal with the WNBA that might “transform” more than just fantasy sports.
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