Though financial specifics weren’t announced, a source familiar with the negotiations said they’re all five-year deals that will pay the league just shy of $1 billion if they run their course. The NFL has opt-outs it can choose to execute toward the end of the deals, the person said.
This is also just one part of the league’s sports betting plan. The NFL intends to sign more operator partnerships at a lower tier in the future, the person said.
The country’s most-watched sports league is also its most-wagered sports league, and until now the NFL has moved slower than its peers to directly embrace the growing sports betting industry. That appears to be changing, as Thursday’s announcement comes just two weeks after the league inked a long-term betting data partnership that included more than $400 million (at its current worth) in Genius Sports equity.
That Genius Sports deal and these deals are inextricably linked. All three of these operators have agreed to pay for the league’s official data feed (from Genius), and it’s a logical assumption that any other providers that sign on at the lower tier will as well. That’s an approach similar to that taken by the NBA and MLB. As the league looks to make adoption of official data feeds more prevalent, tying their use to commercial deals at the league level is an effective way of packaging the two.
The three groups will be able to use the NFL logo and team marks on their platforms, and will be able to integrate sport betting content on the league’s website and app. They’ll also gain access to some NFL footage and highlights.
The three partners are all logical choices. Caesars has been a casino partner of the NFL’s since January 2019, a deal that many thought would put it in the front seat for a future deal that included sports betting. FanDuel and DraftKings are the first and second most popular online sportsbooks in the country, and NFL owners Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones have invested in DraftKings through various entities.
One surprising omission: Fox Bet. In its official announcement on its media extension with the NFL last month, Fox Sports said Fox Bet would “receive authorized sportsbook operator status if, and when, the NFL approves official sportsbook operators for its officially licensed intellectual property.” Fox Bet and FanDuel are both part of Flutter Entertainment, and Fox Bet could be included in that next tier of NFL partners in the future.