DraftKings and Major League Baseball made their relationship a little tighter, as the fantasy sports and sports betting company became an official league partner for gaming.
It’s the second such deal for MLB, which inked a deal with MGM Resorts International late last year.
DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the largest operators in the nascent New Jersey online sports betting industry. It also operates a retail sportsbook in both NJ and Mississippi, with imminent plans to serve more states, including West Virginia.
What does DraftKings get?
The deal makes DraftKings an “Authorized Gaming Operator” that allows its sportsbook to use league logos and have access to official league data.
“DraftKings is proud to be designated as a Major League Baseball Authorized Gaming Operator,” said Ezra Kucharz, the chief business officer at DraftKings. “This deal speaks to the commitment we have to our customers and sports leagues alike while providing the safest and most entertaining American-made sportsbook. As a result of this agreement, our customers will experience enhanced live wagering offerings for all MLB games.”
The game inside the official data game
MLB argues — and some sportsbooks agree — that having access to the MLB data feed is worth it for speed and accuracy. This is especially for offering and settling in-game wagers, which are an important part of the growing industry in the US.
US pro leagues, including MLB, have attempted to mandate the use of such data via new sports betting laws, with largely disappointing results. (Tennessee and Illinois are the only states that have codified the use of official data.)
“Buoyed by our collective commitments to drive innovation in the U.S. sports betting marketplace, the tools provided to DraftKings – including fast, rich and reliable data feeds and MLB brand marks – will be central to creating these powerful new ways to consume and connect with our sport,” said Kenny Gersh, MLB executive vice president, gaming and new business ventures.
Despite the value that MLB places on the data, it’s been a slow rollout of doing commercial deals outside of state mandates. Neither Illinois nor Tennessee sports betting is live yet.
DraftKings + MLB: A brief history
The relationship between DraftKings and MLB goes back quite a ways:
- Dating back to the early days of DraftKings, MLB reportedly already held equity in the company. MLB had moved to give up that piece of DraftKings as it moved into the sports betting realm.
- In 2015, DraftKings became the official daily fantasy partner of MLB.
- DraftKings also has deals with a number of MLB teams, many of which are still on display both in ballparks and digitally.