Three Of The Four Major American Sports Leagues Now Have Official Daily Fantasy Sports Partners

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MLB and DraftKings

Three of America’s major professional sports leagues have chosen sides in the daily fantasy sports space.

That’s after today’s announcement of an extended relationship between DraftKings and Major League Baseball.

DraftKings is already the official DFS game of the NHL. FanDuel has a similarly exclusive relationship with the NBA.

Deal represents substantial expansion of existing partnership

The expanded partnership outlined in the press release is quite a few degrees of depth away from the deal struck between MLB and DraftKings before the start of the 2014 season.

Some of the notable differences:

Like NBA, baseball has skin in the game

When the NBA and FanDuel struck up a marketing partnership in late 2014, the NBA simultaneously took an undisclosed – but meaningful – ownership stake in FanDuel.

As it turns out, the NBA wasn’t the first league to take that leap, as MLB has reportedly held equity in DraftKings since 2013. While the specific timing of that investment remains unknown, I’d wager it was after a March 2013 NYT feature containing somewhat disparaging comments on DFS from MLB’s Rob Bowman.

MLB’s ownership stake in DraftKings was not widely known prior to Adam Kilgore’s March 27 report in the Washington Post.

NFL remains on sidelines

While the technical majority of professional sports leagues are now aligned with one of the two leading DFS sites, the one league that matters the most to DFS – the National Football League – remains unaffiliated.

Football is thought to account for between 60%-80% of activity at daily fantasy sports sites.

Given that incredibly strong position, it’s no surprise that the NFL is the last major league without a DFS partner.

The league has the luxury of waiting – not only to see how the the actual growth of DFS lines up with industry projections, but also how the impending entrances of Disney (rumored) and PokerStars (announced) impact the landscape  – before deciding how to optimally deploy their singular weight.

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