Detroit Pistons Link Up With DraftKings and FanDuel as Michigan Eyes December Online Sports Betting Launch

  • Both DraftKings and FanDuel are now official sports betting partners of the NBA franchise
  • DraftKings is also the Pistons' exclusive official daily fantasy sports partner
  • Michigan committee is set to approve new rules today, triggering online sports betting licensing
  • FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino will provide game-day activations for Pistons fans
Detroit Pistons performance center
Professional basketball franchise the Detroit Pistons announced sports betting partnerships with rival operators DraftKings and FanDuel this week. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Multi-year partnerships

The National Basketball Association (NBA)’s Detroit Pistons have inked multi-year sports betting partnerships with rival sportsbook operators DraftKings and FanDuel. The Michigan-based basketball franchise announced the deals on November 30, as the Great Lake State looks set to launch online sports betting within the month.

Massachusetts-based DraftKings shared the news of its additional role as the Pistons’ exclusive official daily fantasy sports partner in a tweet yesterday:

DraftKings and FanDuel get the right to use official Pistons logos and marks, plus have a presence on the NBA franchise’s TV, radio, and digital platforms. The two sportsbooks will also gain access to the Pistons’ marketing assets and feature on in-arena signage and activations. While both become official sports betting partners of the Pistons, there are slight differences in the competitors’ contracts.

December mobile sports betting likely

DraftKings chief business officer Ezra Kucharz said the Pistons would be his firm’s first team activation with a professional sports franchise in Michigan, “ahead of our pending market introduction.”

A report by the Associated Press indicated that Michigan could launch online sports betting this month. It said that, according to the chairman of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), Republican Senator Pete Lucido, the body would “effectively bless the new regulations at a meeting Tuesday”, December 1. The spokeswoman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Mary Kay Bean, said of the JCAR’s likely imminent rule approval:

We are hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year.”

Mobile sports betting, internet poker, and other online games can only launch in Michigan when casinos and suppliers such as DraftKings and FanDuel receive state licenses for this express purpose. Licensing will start immediately after the approval of the new rules and their subsequent filing with the secretary of state.

Rival brands on the same team

The Pistons’ chief business officer, Mike Zavodsky, said his franchise appreciated the “partnership-minded and collaborative approach” of both DraftKings and FanDuel. According to Zavodsky, the Pistons platform would help the two brands “grow their presence within and connectivity to the Pistons and greater Detroit Metro communities.” Both operators entered into a similar shared partnership deal with WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports in October.

In its official communication, DraftKings said Pistons fans will compete “for a variety of experiential prizes” including a VIP experience.

As part of the ‘Piston for the Day’ VIP package, fans will have the chance to sign an honorary Pistons contract, take part in a private, in-stadium shoot-around, tour the official locker room, and sit courtside at a Pistons regular-season home game at Little Caesars Arena.

FanDuel chief marketing officer Mike Raffensperger outlined in a news release a valuable partnership opportunity for the New York-based organization in connecting its retail sports wagering experience with Pistons in-arena game action. He said FanDuel would engage fans both inside and outside the arena with unique content and wagering promotions. FanDuel will do this via its revamped sportsbook at MotorCity Casino in downtown Detroit, as well as through mobile gaming on the FanDuel Sportsbook app.

The Pistons will also partner with MotorCity Casino Hotel, which allows FanDuel to offer game-day experiences at its retail sportsbook housed within the property. On game days, MotorCity Casino will provide Pistons fans exclusive viewing parties, giveaways, and other innovative activations aimed at enhancing the pre-, post- and in-game sports wagering experience.