The NFL joins the party
Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, the NHL, NBA, and MLB have all signed partnerships with sports betting companies. Now, the NFL has finally added itself to that list.
The US professional football league announced three multi-year agreements on Thursday, naming Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel as its exclusive sports betting partners. The deals will allow the operators to utilize official NFL marks and content, in addition to engaging with fans through NFL-themed free-to-play games.
The league took to Twitter to announce its “first-ever sports betting partnerships” later that day:
Renie Anderson, chief revenue office and executive vice president of NFL partnerships, commented on the news. She said: “Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and Fanduel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love.”
A few more terms
According to the NFL press release, each of the league’s partners will have the right to integrate sports betting content onto the NFL website and app. They will also benefit from access to league highlights and other footage. For stats, the three operators will use the NFL’s official data feed.
The league has also set out the terms of each partner’s specific role. Caesars has acted as official casino sponsor of the NFL since January 2019. The company will retain its additional rights through this deal and continue to create casino experiences for NFL fans. Now, Caesars will also work with the league on sports betting content and engagement.
DraftKings has also renewed its role as the league’s daily fantasy partner, a position it has held since September 2019. The operator will continue to work on sports betting content for NFL media channels, including the RedZone. Meanwhile, the league’s newest partner, FanDuel, will work mainly on pre-game integration opportunities for the NFL Network.
just under $1bn combined
The league has not disclosed financial details of the deals, but a Thursday report from ESPN valued them at just under $1bn combined. They supposedly carry a five-year term.
A change of tune
Prior to the repeal of PASPA in 2018, the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, consistently expressed his opposition to legalized sports wagering. He argued that gambling could lead to match-fixing, damaging the integrity of the football league.
The integrity of our game is No.1.”
“I think we still strongly oppose [among ownership] legalized sports gambling,” the commissioner told reporters in 2017. “The integrity of our game is No.1. We will not compromise on that.” Goodell made the comments in reaction to the Oakland Raiders’ relocation to Nevada, home to the nation’s only sports betting market at the time.
However, the NFL seemed to soften its stance on sports betting last year. The league allowed its teams to strike partnerships with operators from the 2020 season, also permitting stadiums to set up betting lounges. As a result, the Denver Broncos became the first NFL team to partner a sports betting operator, signing a multi-year deal with FanDuel in June of that year.
Although Thursday’s partnership announcements may signal the league’s full acceptance of sports betting, the NFL has still expressed concern with protecting its integrity. As such, its partners will adhere to integrity policies as part of their agreements. The NFL’s release said this will include “intelligence sharing, advocacy efforts, and responsible gaming education.”