DraftKings Inks NHL Deal Complemented by Exclusive Sportsbook Rights for Turner Sports Hockey Coverage

  • DraftKings becomes an official sports betting, iGaming, and DFS partner of the NHL
  • Sportsbook also lands exclusive rights for Turner Sports and Bleacher Report NHL coverage
  • DraftKings gets use of NHL and team marks and promotional opportunities around league events
  • The deal is timely, given the NHL moves from NBC to Turner Sports and ESPN this season
  • NHL exec said Turner Sports wants to “replicate” its NBA programming success with the NHL


NHL-branded hockey pucks
DraftKings has been appointed official sports betting, iGaming, and DFS partner of the NHL, plus it inked an exclusive hockey coverage agreement with Turner Sports. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Multi-layered partnership

DraftKings Inc. has inked an official sports betting, iGaming, and daily fantasy sports (DFS) partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL), complemented by an exclusive hockey coverage agreement with Turner Sports.

The Massachusetts-based sports betting giant tweeted news of its US market-facing NHL tie-up on October 13:

Enhancing the partnership was DraftKings’ agreement with WarnerMedia-owned media network Turner Sports. This accorded DraftKings exclusive sportsbook and DFS provider rights for both Turner Sports and Bleacher Report NHL coverage.

As an official partner of the NHL in the US, DraftKings secures access to the league’s assets, which include use of official logos and marks, and content integrations via the league’s digital and traditional media platforms. The sportsbook can also avail itself of NHL assets that include themed sweepstakes and promotions, which covers the regular hockey season, All-Star Weekend, and the Stanley Cup playoffs and final.

DraftKings and the NHL have been in business together in the past. The sports betting operator signed a two-year exclusive DFS deal with the league in 2014, which was extended until 2018.

DraftKings’ CEO chairman and co-founder Jason Robins said yesterday that his firm was “delighted to be working with the league once again.”

NHL chief business officer and senior executive VP Keith Wachtel echoed Robins’ sentiments, saying the league was “proud to welcome back DraftKings to the NHL family.”

Winds of change

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also announced the DraftKings deal yesterday while he was on stage at the CAA World Congress of Sports, which Sports Business Journal shared on Twitter:

Bettman said the deal made DraftKings the NHL’s tenth “iGambling, daily fantasy, and sports betting official partner.” It joins the likes of Bally’s, BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel, PointsBet, and Betway — the latter’s deal with the NHL in May giving the sportsbook its first-ever North American pro sports league partner.

DraftKings deal with the NHL and Turner Sports is timely

The DraftKings deal with the NHL and Turner Sports is timely, given the league moves from NBC to Turner Sports and ESPN this season.

Wachtel intimated the 2021-22 NHL season would be “thrilling.” He added the tie-up with DraftKings and Turner Sports “will provide for new and exciting experiences to deepen our fan engagement.”

Robins concurred, saying the collaboration of brands would “provide hockey fans with what’s next in sports.”

DraftKings sits poised to tap into a vast fanbase. The deal gives it traditional and digital integrations via Turner Sports telecasts and Bleacher Report channels, the latter extension including personalized automated alerts. According to an official NHL news release, the Bleacher Report betting vertical is “the most engaged digital sports media brand in the sports betting industry.”

Big ambitions

Bleacher Report SVP of strategic partnerships, business development and content acquisitions Rachel Poplock said Turner Sports and Turner Sports-owned Bleacher Report have become the “home of innovative sports betting.”

Poplock added DraftKings deal will also give fans “the type of sports betting information, entertainment and quick-resolving betting options that we have pioneered.”

Turner Sports inked a multimedia rights agreement with the NHL in spring, which brings the Stanley Cup playoffs and finals to TNT for the first time, in addition to the 50-game regular season schedule. Under the deal, TNT gets exclusive live coverage of the Stanley Cup finals in three of the next seven years.

According to Sports Business Journal, Wachtel wants the new tie-up to emulate the popular Turner Sports-FanDuel line and odds integrations that aired on NBA pre-game shows last season.

Turner Sports wants “to replicate the success they’ve had with the NBA programming and get that into the NHL,” Wachtel said.

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