Fantasy sports have been getting quite a moment in the past little while, despite mainstream media remaining a little reticent. I highly recommend this piece master and commander of Bloguin Ben Koo did on the subject a couple of months ago. It’s still relevant and still worth a read. It’s particularly significant with some news out of the sports/fantasy sports world today.
The NBA announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed a four-year “exclusive daily fantasy deal” with fantasy sports company FanDuel. No financial terms were revealed, but as part of the deal, the NBA will now become an investor in the company, while FanDuel will be the only daily fantasy site featured on the NBA’s website. This comes shortly following the NHL announcing a similar two-year partnership with Draft Kings.
“The special status helps legitimize us, but we wanted to do this deal because the NBA, more than any other league, they understood the upside to them as well,” FanDuel CEO and co-founder Nigel Eccles said.
FanDuel already had multiple individual deals with various NHL teams. This little nugget from Darren Rovell’s report at ESPN seems relevant, however:
The relationship does not enable FanDuel to be the exclusive provider of NBA daily fantasy, as any service is legally allowed to offer an NBA fantasy game. In 1996, statistics company Stats Inc. won a case against the NBA, which established that players’ names when tied to statistics were not subject to copyright protection.
It will be interesting to see how that stipulation affects these deals. I know a lot of people who still mostly use ESPN and Yahoo for fantasy sports. Will the branding with these leagues make these sites the go-to for hardcore fans of the NBA and NHL and how much can the leagues monetize these partnerships? While the NHL’s deal with Draft Kings seems to be more a basic sponsorship agreement, the NBA is clearly invested in the success of FanDuel.