UFC hails 'significant' long-term partnership with DraftKings
Mixed martial arts’ UFC has become the latest organisation to join the growing sports betting wave in the US market after agreeing a lucrative new partnership with DraftKings.
Under a five-year deal, announced today, DraftKings becomes UFC’s first official sportsbook and daily fantasy partner in USA and Canada.
The deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million and the MMA promotion said it marks “one of the most significant partnerships in UFC history.”
Through the tie-up, the company will offer in-game promotions, activations, in-broadcast odds integrations and UFC branding across its daily fantasy and betting products, as well as rights to use official UFC marks and logos.
DraftKings will also provide fans with free-to-play UFC games on a weekly basis as well as enhanced prop bets.
Ahead of this weekend’s UFC 259, the daily fantasy and sports betting company has launched a free-to-play UFC pool for fans.
DraftKings will benefit from a branded presence on the Octagon canvas at select UFC events and during president Dana White's online ‘Contender Series’ show.
The Boston-based sportsbook will also have multiple sponsorship integrations within UFC content on both linear and digital platforms, including live broadcasts and pay-per-views, social media assets, and programming on UFC Fight Pass, the promotion’s streaming service.
In addition, DraftKings will become the presenting partner of UFC Fight Clock, its new proprietary time-keeping system.
UFC Fight Clock is integrated directly into UFC’s production technology, allowing athletes, fans, and officials in the arena to see the same countdown clock per round as viewers watching the broadcast.
Dana White, president of UFC, said: “This is a massive deal that will benefit UFC, DraftKings, and most of all the fans. This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones.”
Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder, chief executive and executive chairman, added: “Combat sports, and UFC in particular, have scaled significantly across both our sportsbook and daily fantasy verticals, evolving from a niche offering to a high-demand category that we believe will only grow further as we innovate.”
The deal further enhances DraftKings’ strong presence in the US sports scene which complements multiple deals with leagues and teams across American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL and baseball’s MLB.
Meanwhile, fellow daily fantasy sports company FanDuel has appointed Amy Howe from global live entertainment promoter Live Nation as its first president.
Reporting directly to chief executive Matt King, Howe will join FanDuel’s executive team and have responsibility for commercial functions across its sports betting, casino, daily fantasy and racing products in the newly-created role.
Howe spent seven years at Live Nation, most recently serving as chief operating officer for the company’s prominent online ticketing arm Ticketmaster where she oversaw the digital transformation and modernisation of the company’s ticketing platform and business model.
FanDuel has also partnered with Wave.TV, the fledgling sports media platform, in an effort to attract new customers through social media.
WAVE.tv will create sports betting content with FanDuel across all major social media platforms as well as launching a new betting-focused media brand.
The platform has relationships with more than 110 leagues and rights holders, from major properties such as MLB to more niche sports like badminton and karate.
Last July, Wave.tv, which was founded in 2017, closed a Series A round of financing adding up to $32 million.
Wave.tv claims to generate in the region of 3.2 billion total monthly views for its content, and to have over 60 million followers and subscribers.
Elsewhere, UK bookmaker Betfred has teamed up with MLB’s Colorado Rockies to enhance its presence in the US.
As part of the agreement, the betting company will gain digital and stadium assets at the Rockies’ Coors Field stadium, in addition to game-day experiences for fans of the team, such as game suits, in-match contests and ticket giveaways.
This represents Betfred’s second agreement with a team in Colorado after also partnering with the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
Betfred was the first physical sportsbook to open in the state last June which it quickly followed up with an online launch later in the year.