On Thursday, the National Football League (NFL) entered the US sports betting world with not one, not two, but three sportsbook partners simultaneously, announcing that FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Entertainment will be its exclusive partners under multi-year agreements. All three sportsbook partners will be exclusively allowed to leverage the league’s marks within the sports betting category, besides activating around retail and digital sports betting. The companies will also engage with fans via NFL-themed free-to-play games.

Key Details of the Multiple Deals

Terms of the NFL deals made with the three operators were not disclosed, but they are reported to be worth $1 billion over five years. Each of the three sportsbooks would be allowed to “integrate relevant sports betting content” directly to NFL Media properties, including the league’s official website and mobile app. In addition, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars will also be able to use the league’s official data feed.

In a statement released by the league, NFL Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of Partnerships, Renie Anderson, said the collaboration with FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars will provide fans new and different ways of interacting with their favorite sport. “As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the US, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are thrilled to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals.”

Expanding Relationship with Caesars

NFL’s expanded relationship with Las Vegas-based company makes it an official sports betting partner of the league, while Caesars Entertainment retains its exclusive rights as the NFL’s official casino sponsor. As a casino sponsor, Caesars reserves rights to use NFL trademarks for marketing purposes across its 50 casino properties. Under the same privilege, Caesars will have “tentpole activations” at upcoming league events, including the 2022 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas.

The extended cooperation also includes Caesars online iGaming apps. In sports betting, the casino and hotel company will collaborate with the NFL to create content and opportunities for engagement across its digital sports betting operations and land-based sportsbook locations across the nation.

DraftKings’ Renewal as League Partner       

DraftKings renewed its exclusive status with the NFL as the league’s official daily fantasy sports partner, besides becoming an official sports betting partner of the NFL. The Boston-based company will have exclusive rights to NFL IP and marks and will continue to work together with the league on a variety of content and product offerings attracting fans on the DraftKings sportsbook and daily fantasy sports apps. The NFL-DraftKings deal also involves integrations across league media properties, including a continued presence with the NFL RedZone channel.

FanDuel, NFL’s Newest Partner

While the league had some sort of prior engagement with Caesars and DraftKings, New York-based FanDuel is the newest partner with the NFL. Under this partnership, FanDuel gains access to in-game and post-game league highlights starting this season that will be directly available within its sportsbook and fantasy sports platforms. In addition, the Flutter-owned company will have access to footage rights that bring the league’s excitement to FanDuel’s owned and produced content across its multiple platforms. It will work with the NFL on pre-game integration opportunities, the same sort of arrangement FanDuel signed with Turner Sports last October that made it the network’s exclusive sportsbook partner of NBA programming.

In a statement, FanDuel CEO Matt King said the partnership provides its shared customers with a new level of innovation and unrivaled premium content directly within its platform, ultimately enhancing every gameday.

How Has the NFL Reached Here?

The NFL for long had been opposing the legalization of sports betting in the US. In 2012, existing commissioner Roger Goodell opposed legalizing betting on NFL games. In a testimony, he said, “We don’t believe it’s going to happen, and we don’t think it should happen.” However, the Supreme Court’s historic PASPA judgment in May 2018 paved the way for state-by-state expansion of US sports betting, virtually making it impossible for any entity to oppose legal betting. With Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signing sports betting into law this week, more than half of the 50 states have now legalized sports betting.

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