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FanDuel and the NHL are officially partners.
The multi-year deal makes FanDuel the official daily fantasy sports partner and an official sports betting partner for the professional hockey league via its FanDuel Sportsbook. The two unveiled their alliance on Monday via a joint press release and a combined media appearance in New York City.
Note the lack of exclusivity in the latter, as the league announced a similar deal with MGM Resorts International last week.
It’s quite a turnaround for the NHL, which tried to curtail legal betting on its games in Las Vegas as recently as last year. Commissioner Gary Bettman has previously said that hockey “doesn’t lend itself to gambling.”
FanDuel also announced a partnership with the New Jersey Devils on Monday, adding to the team’s growing list of gambling alliances.
Under the NHL partnership, FanDuel will offer VIP experiences at league events like the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game. There is also a vague mention of the ways in which the site will be allowed to leverage the NHL’s “official category designations” for use in sports betting.
Here’s more from Bettman on the deal:
“Our approach to sports betting is to continue to be progressive as we work directly with the industry and focus on innovative opportunities for fan engagement. Teaming up with FanDuel furthers our strategy of aligning with leading brands that share our vision of using new platforms and technology to drive innovation and engage and excite hockey fans.”
FanDuel CEO Matt King also offered his thoughts in the joint press release:
“Joining forces with the National Hockey League was the perfect next step for us as both our sports betting and fantasy sports businesses continue to grow. The League’s clear vision for these categories and this partnership marks an exciting time for both organizations.”
To promote the partnership, FanDuel will introduce a “Skate to the NHL Winter Classic” contest awarding a VIP trip to the New Year’s Day event this season at Notre Dame Stadium.
FanDuel and the NHL held a joint press conference on Monday morning to announce their union.
The deal with the Devils is separate from the league deal and involves more relentless branding exposure.
FanDuel Sportsbook will have its logo embedded in the ice at Prudential Center, occupying one of the league’s new advertising positions. The team will also integrate the FanDuel brand across its social media and other digital platforms.
Here’s FanDuel COO Kip Levin:
“We will continue to be at the forefront of the action for hockey fans, whether they’re watching sports from a seat in the arena or at home on TV. Our partnership with the New Jersey Devils allows us to be on the ice during the action and in-game messaging is the perfect way to reach hockey fans during the games.”
The Devils play their home games in New Jersey, one of six states with legal sports betting. Although there is no sportsbook inside the arena, NJ sports betting is available statewide on mobile devices. FanDuel Sportsbook offers one of the market-leading platforms in the state.
This deal is definitely non-exclusive, though, as the arena prepares for some serious redecorating. In fact, FanDuel is third in line behind previous Devils partnerships with:
These aren’t even the first gambling-related deals for the Devils. Way back in 2014, the team formed a then-unprecedented partnership with partypoker NJ.
Of course, this is nothing new for FanDuel, either. As a DFS site, it sponsored/partnered with scores of NFL and NBA teams during the marketing blitz of 2014-15.
These sports deals, however, represent the first for FanDuel Sportsbook as a full-fledged gambling company. In addition to NJ, its product is also live in West Virginia and preparing for launch in Pennsylvania. It now falls under the umbrella of Paddy Power Betfair, one of the largest gambling companies in the world.
Curiously, the NHL is also a parter to DraftKings, the primary competitor of FanDuel. The two have a long-standing relationship that dates back to 2014, with the NHL even holding an equity position in the company.
That remains unchanged in light of today’s news. DraftKings CBO Ezra Kucharz provided a statement to LSR:
“We are constantly evaluating our relationships with leagues, teams and business partners to ensure DraftKings is well-positioned to further innovate our industry-leading daily fantasy sports product and continue our growth in sports betting and media. The National Hockey League has been a valued partner and we fully expect to work with them in other capacities in the future.”
DraftKings Sportsbook is live in NJ alongside its old DFS competitor, but is so far without a path into any other state with legal betting.