(UPDATES — ADDS INFORMATION)
The National Football League completed its 180-degree turn in regard to sports betting Thursday, signing multi-year partnerships with Caesars Entertainment, FanDuel, and DraftKings that make the trio official sports betting partners with the league.
Terms of the deals were not announced, but they are reported to be worth $1 billion over five years. The three sportsbooks will have the ability to “integrate relevant sports betting content” directly to NFL Media properties, which include the league’s official website and mobile app. All three sportsbooks will also utilize the league’s official data feed.
“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” said NFL Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of Partnerships Renie Anderson in a statement released by the league. “Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love.”
— NFL (@NFL) April 15, 2021
The NFL had long been an opponent of legalized sports betting, with former commissioner Paul Tagliabue offering support for PASPA‘s restrictions as far back as 1991 when then-U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey began formulating the framework of the federal law. Even as recently as 2012, current commissioner Roger Goodell was against legalized wagering on NFL games, offering testimony during a deposition that “We don’t believe it’s going to occur, and we don’t think it should occur.”
The state-by-state expansion of sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May 2018, however, simply became too large for the league to oppose, and the amount of legal wagering on the Super Bowl — the biggest single sporting event in the United States — was at least $400 million in February and continues to grow by leaps and bounds as more states climb on board.
Betting on the NFL is also expected to increase in the upcoming season with the introduction of a 17th regular season game.
With Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signing sports betting into law in his state Thursday, more than half of the 50 states have legalized sports wagering. Some states, most notably New York, are hoping to have a framework in place by the start of the season to offer mobile sports wagering.
Caesars gets: Extension of exclusive casino sponsorship and content collaboration
It’s official: We will become an Official Sports Betting Partner of the @NFL as part of an agreement that extends the groundbreaking partnership in which we became the League’s first-ever casino sponsor.
— Caesars Entertainment (@CaesarsEnt) April 15, 2021
In addition to becoming an official sports betting partner of the league, Caesars maintained exclusive rights as the league’s official casino sponsor. That allows it to use NFL trademarks for marketing purposes across its 50 casino properties and various on-site entertainment elements. It also will have “tentpole activations” at upcoming NFL events, including the 2022 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft, which will both be held in Las Vegas.
“Together, Caesars and the NFL are changing the way fans can experience football,” said Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Sports & Online Gaming. “We will enable NFL fans to enjoy an enhanced experience at our casinos, in our sportsbooks, and online. Paired with the ability to earn Caesars Rewards credits and tier status that unlock incredible experiences, football season will be more exciting than ever.”
Caesars will also team with the NFL to provide content and “opportunities for engagement” for both its retail and mobile sportsbooks nationwide. It already has deals in place with seven NFL teams, and its William Hill sportsbook is the exclusive odds provider for ESPN across multiple platforms of the sports media giant.
FanDuel gets: Highlights, pre-game content integration on NFL Network
🚨 BIG NEWS 🚨
FanDuel Sportsbook is now an official sports betting partner of the @NFL
Tap below for all of the details ⬇️
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) April 15, 2021
The newcomer to the deal among the three operators, FanDuel Sportsbook (reviewed here) gains access to in-game and post-game NFL highlights starting this season that will be made directly available for use on its sportsbook and fantasy platforms. The sports betting titan also will have access to footage rights and work in tandem with the league for pre-game content on the NFL Network for the seven games the league’s official television network will air during the 2021 season.
“On Super Bowl Sunday we got a glimpse at how powerful the combination of the NFL’s excitement and our platform can be in delivering an enhanced fan experience. We are delighted to make that combination official by pairing America’s #1 sportsbook with America’s #1 sports league,” said FanDuel CEO Matt King. “This partnership provides our shared customers with a new level of innovation and unmatched premium content directly within our platform ultimately enhancing every gameday.”
The pre-game content portion of the deal is somewhat similar to the agreement FanDuel signed with Turner Sports in October to be the network’s exclusive sportsbook partner for NBA programming.
DraftKings gets: Renewal as exclusive DFS Partner, prominent presence on Red Zone Channel
Today @DraftKings was named an Official Sports Betting Partner of the @NFL, expanding on its current relationship as the league's Official Exclusive Daily Fantasy Partner. The deal includes content integration and official league data. For more details: https://t.co/6bAKH8a6BF pic.twitter.com/ZS3UBKZobr
— DraftKings News (@DraftKingsNews) April 15, 2021
DraftKings renewed its status as the league’s official daily fantasy partner, with also provides exclusive rights to NFL IP and marks. It will continue working with the league on offerings that cover both DraftKings’ sportsbook and daily fantasy sports apps. It will also continue to work with league on integrations with NFL Media properties, most notably a continued presence on the league’s popular RedZone channel.
“The way fans consume sports years from now will look drastically different, and it will be due in part to forward-thinking collaborations like our expanded relationship with the NFL today as an Official Sports Betting and Exclusive Daily Fantasy Sports Partner,” said DraftKings CEO, chairman and co-founder Jason Robins. “We share the same vision as the NFL on fan engagement and believe this agreement will lead to new innovations that will ultimately enhance both the product on the field and on the screen.”
The NFL gets: Even more rich and popular?
NFL announced what it is calling its first U.S. sportsbook partnerships with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel. Those companies now are the NFL’s "official sports betting partners.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 15, 2021
There is no “offseason” when it comes to the NFL. Sports news networks devote hours of programming to team personnel moves, and the annual draft — which starts April 29 in Cleveland with first-round selections — is a constant source of attention and attraction across multimedia platforms. Last month, the league extended its television rights packages across a series of networks through 2033 for an estimated $113 billion.
And the combination of television visibility and increased access to sports betting has resulted in a boom for sportsbooks when it comes to NFL betting. While the national numbers for Super Bowl betting are incomplete since every state does not report such figures, the current “Big 4” of New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois reported a combined handle of $356 million on Tampa Bay’s win over Kansas City in February.
The addition of a 17th game also looms large for operators, who conservatively see $350 million worth of action per week. Factor in the average 7% national win rate for sportsbooks, and they are divvying up $24.5 million from each NFL Sunday (and Thursday night and Monday night). Additionally, Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings will look to expand their reach in new and existing markets by promoting their new status as the “Official Sports Betting Partner of the NFL.”