DraftKings has inked a deal with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), a partnership which will allow it to use some of the league’s star players in its marketing campaigns.
“The NFL season is one of the important times of the year for DraftKings and the DFS industry, so to be able to feature NFL players as part of our marketing efforts adds a level of excitement and connectivity to the game that is a huge win for us and our community,” said DraftKings VP of Business Development Jeremy Elbaum.
DraftKings and FanDuel marketing has been ubiquitous since the start of NFL season this year. Earlier this month, DraftKings sat atop the list of biggest spenders in TV ads in the entire country, but has lost that spot this week to FanDuel, which has spent nearly $17 million on its TV campaigns in the past seven days.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who already has a sponsorship deal with DraftKings, commented on how the addition of NFL players into the site’s advertising would create a more engaging experience for viewers. “Adding players into the marketing of DraftKings makes daily fantasy gaming more real,” said Gronkowski. “Fans get to see more of our personality and not just our stats.”
NFL Players Inc. President Ahmad Nassar also commented with typical press release enthusiasm:
“We’re excited that more and more players are going to benefit from the rising growth of fantasy sports and are especially excited to partner with DraftKings, a leader that has helped fuel the growth of Daily Fantasy Sports. DraftKings and NFL players share an important trait as both have intense, dedicated fan bases. By featuring more NFL players in marketing endeavors, DraftKings will offer a new level of authenticity to the daily fantasy experience.”
Still no exclusive partner
While DraftKings cozies up to NFL players, the NFL remains the only major league without a daily fantasy sponsor. DraftKings has already locked up deals with the NHL, MLB and UFC, while rival FanDuel boasts a partnership with the NBA.
The massive ad spend by daily fantasy sites this year has brought to the forefront the issue of the sites’ legality. Forbes journalist Mark Edelman recently penned a piece in which he lays out how the NFL is making money off DFS while avoiding a potentially tricky legal situation.
“By not investing in either company, the NFL allows its team owners to pit the daily fantasy sports marketplace’s No. 1 and No. 2 in terms of market share against one another for team endorsement deals,” he said. “Because both brands are striving desperately to grow their footprint in the pro sports marketplace… the NFL teams are able to exert far better terms from FanDuel and DraftKings than would have likely been feasible if there existed a national, league-wide agreement.”
The NFL Players Association was established in 1956 and serves as the union for pro football players in the league. The organization prides itself on doing “whatever is necessary” to benefit its members, even if that means ceasing to be a union.