Major League Baseball (MLB) announced it has chosen FanDuel to be one of its official sports betting partners.
FanDuel Group President Christian Genetski said the multi-year partnership is a win for his company and MLB.
“The baseball fan is one of the most engaged in all of sports, which is why we’re delighted to be the new sports betting partner of Major League Baseball. Our team is eager to showcase FanDuel in nationally broadcast MLB games and help enhance game narratives and bring America’s Pastime directly into our mobile app and OTT platform for fans to watch and wager. We’re also very excited about the opportunity to work together with MLB on new betting product innovations that will give customers the opportunity to enhance their experience on every pitch from March until October.”
The move comes around four years after FanDuel started working with the MLB as an authorized gaming operator. Additionally, it helps FanDuel in its battle with DraftKings, which has been one of the league’s official sports betting partners since 2021.
Partnership will boost FanDuel visibility with baseball fans
As part of the partnership, FanDuel has the right to use MLB branding for its sportsbook, daily fantasy, and Faceoff app. Additionally, FanDuel can:
- Stream MLB.TV’s free game of the day through the FanDuel sportsbook app and FanDuel’s over-the-topp (OTT) platform
- Use official MLB highlights on FanDuel TV
- Work with MLB to come up with new products
- Work on projects with MLB sponsor partners
“As one of the top sportsbooks in America, FanDuel has been an industry leader in innovative fan engagement opportunities while also reminding them of the importance of doing it responsibly,” MLB Executive Vice President, Media & Business Development Kenny Gersh said in a statement. “These key priorities of unique fan engagement and responsible gambling align with our focus from the league level and make FanDuel a natural partner to collaborate with as an Official Sports Betting Partner.”
Fan engagement is key for league
One of the MLB’s biggest concerns is keeping fans interested in the game. Rule changes can help with that engagement.
For example, this season marks the debut of a pitch clock. Hurlers have up to 20 seconds to throw a pitch. If they don’t hit the deadline, the umpire awards a balk, and runners advance one base. The move will speed up the game and, in theory, make it more watchable.
On the partnership side, MLB betting drives engagement, too. Adding FanDuel to the league’s roster of official sports betting partnerships could boost interest in the sport. Last year, MLB exec Casey Brett told Sports Business Journal that, compared to the average fan, sports bettors are:
- 40% more likely to stream an MLB game
- 36% more likely to buy a ticket
- 30% more likely to read an MLB.com article
That engagement is sorely needed. For example, viewership size for the World Series regularly eclipsed 30 million from 1973 to 1992, according to Baseball Almanac.
However, since 1993, viewership has never topped 30 million. In the past 15 years, viewership surpassed 20 million once. Additionally, since 2018, the World Series has not had more than 15 million viewers in any year.