DraftKings announced a deal with Major League Soccer on Friday, the third major North American team sports league with which the daily fantasy sports site has partnered.
DraftKings + MLS = ?
The partnership was termed as a multi-year deal between the DFS site and the biggest soccer league in the United States and Canada.
More from the press release:
As part of the agreement, DraftKings will offer exclusive MLS fantasy games and money-can’t-buy experiences. DraftKings will gain premium in-stadium exposure during MLS games and prominent placement on the League’s digital platforms, including MLSsoccer.com. DraftKings and MLS also will develop innovative new daily fantasy games to bring the best daily fantasy soccer experience to MLS fans.
As part of the deal, MLS and DraftKings will also partner with individual clubs. Those relationships will be announced at a later date.
Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, spoke on the deal in the press release as well:
“Soccer is an incredibly exciting sport that is underrepresented in daily fantasy and we’re going to change that in a big way. We are truly looking forward to collaborating with MLS on unique contests and exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences that will thrill their passionate fan base and thoroughly engage the DraftKings community.”
Fifth major partnership
Other leagues and overarching organizations that DraftKings has already partnered with include:
- Major League Baseball
- The NHL
- Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
That’s in addition to dozens of sponsorship deals that DraftKings has with individual franchises.
Synergy with ESPN
ESPN is the broadcast home of MLS, so the deal makes a lot of sense for all parties. The DFS site and the sports network recently signed a deal that made “DraftKings the official daily fantasy sports offering across ESPN’s platforms.”
It seems likely that the planned integration of ESPN’s broadcasts and media platforms with daily fantasy content related to DraftKings will also apply to the MLS, now.
Daily fantasy sports has already helped fan engagement and TV viewership for other sports, and MLS is likely banking on that trend to help the league raise its profile.
Soccer and DFS?
Not many DFS sites that are focused on the North American market offer daily fantasy soccer; DraftKings had already offered DFS for MLS before this agreement.
DraftKings recently applied for a gaming license in the U.K., and the MLS deal could signal that it might have more in store for the soccer vertical.