DraftKings Enters $350m Partnership With the UFC

  • The $350m deal covers the United States and Canada for five years 
  • DraftKings’ will appear on the canvas for certain fights
  • DraftKings CEO Jason Robins noted that UFC betting is rapidly gaining popularity
  • The sportsbook is focusing on constant expansion, with its 2021 upper revenue forecast at $1bn
UFC championship belt
DraftKings has signed a five-year, $350m partnership to be the exclusive sportsbook and DFS partner of the UFC. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Extensive five-year partnership

DraftKings announced on Thursday that it is now the exclusive sportsbook and daily fantasy partner for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the United States and Canada. The Boston-based operator celebrated the agreement on Twitter:

According to the press release, this is one of the most significant deals in the history of the mixed martial arts organization. ESPN reported that the agreement is worth $350m over the course of five years. The Sports Business Journal outlined that $250m of the sum is for media and marketing obligations, with the remaining $100m being cash rights fees.

Through this partnership, DraftKings will offer various in-fight promotions, odds integrations during broadcasts, activations, and will have the right to use UFC logos and branding. DraftKings will also be providing weekly free-to-play games to UFC fans, as well as extras like enhanced prop bets.

presenting partner for the UFC Fight Clock, the new time-keeping system for fights

In addition, DraftKings will be a presenting partner for the UFC Fight Clock, the new time-keeping system for fights. Finally, DraftKings will have brand positioning on the canvas during certain UFC events, as well as for Dana White’s Contender Series. Other types of sponsorship integrations between the two parties will take place across various channels.

A big deal for fans

UFC president Dana White spoke in the press announcement about this “massive deal” and the great impact it will have on fans. He talked about how the absence of an off-season in the UFC means that bettors will have access to action year-round. White also stated: “This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones.”

DraftKings executive chairman and CEO Jason Robins also spoke about this new partnership, referring to the growing popularity of the UFC across its sports betting and daily fantasy offerings. UFC 257 in January was the biggest MMA betting event in the history of DraftKings, with the event involving Irish fighter Conor McGregor.

Robins went on to speak about past collaborations with the UFC and said that his company is ready to “explore even more impactful integrations that prioritize the fan experience.”

Continual expansion

Both the UFC and DraftKings are no strangers to high-profile partnership deals. In 2019, the UFC signed a media rights deal with ESPN worth $1.5bn.

DraftKings has been looking to align itself with high-profile names in the sports world for some time. It now has numerous notable sports figures involved in the business, including NBA legend Michael Jordan. It also has deals in place with numerous professional sports teams and leagues across North America. On Wednesday, the sports betting operator announced a new partnership agreement with the DISH Network.

DraftKings now predicts that 2021 revenue will be between $900m and $1bn.

Last week, DraftKings exceeded expectations following the release of its Q4 2020 results. It posted quarterly revenue of $322.2m, a rise of 98% year-on-year. DraftKings now predicts that 2021 revenue will be between $900m and $1bn. It is keeping a close eye on the many states that are considering legalizing sports betting and has already launched new sportsbooks in Michigan and Virginia so far this year.

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