Major League Baseball and FanDuel Agree to Sports Betting Partnership
Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that they have agreed to a partnership with FanDuel, one of the leading daily fantasy sports and sports betting providers in the United States. The deal makes FanDuel the official sportsbook operator of MLB.
This is Major League Baseball’s first partnership with FanDuel. The operator has previously done business with the National Basketball Association as a whole as well as the league’s Brooklyn Nets. The company also has a similar partnership with the NHL and the New Jersey Devils. MLB has active partnerships with sports betting operators DraftKings and MGM Resorts International. MLB’s deal with MGM was agreed upon late last year, while DraftKings became a partner back in July.
New Era for Sports Betting
Kenny Gersh, MLB’s vice president of gaming and new business ventures, said,
“FanDuel has proven itself to be a leader in the sports betting space and has shifted a step ahead again through its commitment to, and recognition of, the value in being an authorized gaming operator. Now having access to our official sports betting data feeds and MLB brands, we’re looking forward to the creative sports betting and fan experience innovations FanDuel will develop.”
This is just the latest in a series of agreements between major American professional sports leagues and gambling entities. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May of 2018 essentially gave individual states the green light regarding whether to legalize sports betting. Since then, a number of leagues and teams have started to cross the threshold and do business with betting operators. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, Nevada was the only state in the US with fully legal sports betting.
Sports betting is now legalized and regulated in a total of 11 states, with Iowa being the latest to get in on the act. Iowa launched its own live sports betting operation for the first time on August 15th.
The deal will allow FanDuel to use official MLB data and logos in its online and retail sportsbooks. However, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed publicly.
Kip Levin, the president and chief operating officer of FanDuel Group, said,
“Fantasy sports and sports betting have become a national pastime in their own right, so it’s natural to join forces with Major League Baseball. MLB clearly understands how working together can be beneficial for baseball fans and both companies alike.”
NFL Behind the Times
Now, the National Football League is the only major American professional sports league without an official sports betting partner. However, last week, the NFL announced a partnership with Sportradar, a Switzerland-based data provider, that will allow Sportradar to distribute official NFL data to sportsbook partners all over the world. Sportradar will also use its integrity services to monitor for unusual betting activity in order to try and maintain the integrity of the game.
The NFL’s Washington Redskins has also announced that the team’s preseason games will feature an alternate television broadcast through which viewers can compete in a predictive game in exchange for real cash prizes. While the league has been slow to label the game as gambling, it’s pretty clearly trending in that direction.
Because the growth of sports betting is so new to the United States, previous deals between leagues and sports betting operators have typically been short-term agreements. It’s safe to say the latest deal between MLB and FanDuel fits the bill, though we don’t yet know for sure.
FanDuel has sportsbooks in a number of states, including New Jersey, West Virginia, Mississippi, New York, and Pennsylvania. The company’s sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey has become the biggest in the state. FanDuel reported nearly $67 million in sports wagering revenue at the venue so far this year, which accounts for 52.5% of New Jersey’s entire sports betting take.
MLB granting FanDuel access to the league’s official data feed will give bookmakers the opportunity to offer in-play betting options, such as whether a runner on second base will score before the end of an inning or the outcome of an at-bat. A statement from FanDuel said,
“In-play wagering is a large part of the sports betting experience and accounts for more than 50% of FanDuel Sportsbook’s total business. MLB and FanDuel Group joining forces allows FanDuel to enhance the in-play and overall sports wagering and experience.”
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