The National Hockey League (NHL) is staying aggressive in partnering with sports betting and gaming companies.
FanDuel is now the “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and official sports betting partner of the NHL.” Additionally, FanDuel also inked a deal with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
The multi-year partnership agreement was announced earlier this week in a joint press conference. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman commented on the NHL’s approach to leveraging sports betting in a press release.
“We are continuing to be progressive in our approach to the sports betting category, working directly with the industry and focusing on innovative opportunities for fan engagement. Teaming up with an industry leader like FanDuel furthers our strategy of aligning with leading brands that share our vision of using new platforms and technology to drive innovation and engage and excite hockey fans.”
The NHL has been very clear about the non-exclusive nature of its recent agreements. FanDuel joins MGM as a league-wide partner. This deal, however, marks the first league partnership for the New Jersey sportsbook and daily fantasy sports operator.
As part of the agreement, FanDuel will offer exclusive VIP experiences including trips to fan-favorite events such as the NHL’s Winter Classic and All-Star Game.
A surprise caveat of the deal
One topic rarely discussed in these kinds of partnerships is how the league will influence the types of bets its sports betting partners offer. There is an indication coming out of the press conference that the NHL will exert its influence, and it seems FanDuel is okay with that.
When asked about the NHL’s influence on sports betting, Bettman said to Forbes:
“Having a direct relationship gives us the input to do that, and that’s important to us because some bets make more sense than others. Or saying it differently, some bets make less sense than others. That’s something we’re going to keep an eye on.”
FanDuel CEO Matt King discussed the importance of differentiating between the company’s status as a legal sportsbook and other illegal offshore sportsbooks.
“Sports betting is something new and one of the things that we want to make sure of is that we differentiate for fans that want to partner with a legal and regulated entity like ourselves versus those that might be using an offshore book. Frankly, the imprint of the NHL and the Devils is a huge differentiator in terms of building that trust.”
The statement had an interesting end with King talking about trust. Building trust is of crucial importance for the new NJ sportsbook who has had a series of missteps in its legal sports betting debut. It is paramount for FanDuel to have the trust of sports bettors.
No doubt, FanDuel looks to the agreement with the NHL to help bolster their reputation.
New Jersey Devils lock up another sponsorship partner
Following in the NHL footsteps, the New Jersey Devils is seizing its moment in the spotlight.
Currently, six states offer legalized sports betting:
Of those six states, only Nevada and New Jersey have professional sports teams. The Vegas Golden Knights were the first NHL franchise to sign a deal with William Hill. Since then, however, it has been the NJ Devils making headlines.
Adam Davis, CRO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, owners of the NJ Devils commented on its latest partnership.
“The FanDuel Sportsbook user is an educated consumer interested in engaging with multiple sports teams and events in dynamic and interactive ways. Their emphasis on creating innovative platforms and promotions to connect with and galvanize their consumers parallels the fan first mentality at the New Jersey Devils.”
FanDuel joins William Hill and Caesars as a sports betting partners with the Devils. The agreement will offer branding opportunities for FanDuel. Specifically, look for an in-ice advertisement at the Prudential Center, home of the NHL team.
Kip Levin, COO of FanDuel Group, also commented on the new relationship:
“We will continue to be at the forefront of the action for hockey fans, whether they’re watching sports from a seat in the arena or at home on TV. Our partnership with the New Jersey Devils allows us to be on the ice during the action and in-game messaging is the perfect way to reach hockey fans during the games.”