On Thursday, DraftKings announced that it had inked a deal with NASCAR to become the organization’s “Official Daily Fantasy Sports Partner.” The three-year contract will give the Boston-based site exclusive license to offer NASCAR-branded DFS games to its users and will leverage the organization’s digital properties to cross-promote both brands.
DraftKings will tap into NASCAR Digital Media’s direct data feed to display real-time statistics on races and drivers, which, according to a press release, will “bring players closer to the sport in an unprecedented way.” The partnership will also create opportunities for fans to win unique prize packages and enjoy one-of-a-kind “VIP experiences.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with NASCAR to bring auto racing enthusiasts across the country an unmatched fan experience,” said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. “We’re always exploring new avenues for innovation, and the stats from NASCAR Digital Media’s direct data feed are another example of DraftKings’ commitment to incorporating new technologies for the benefit of the fan.”
As for gameplay, players will create their own rosters comprised of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, with scoring based on finishing position, fastest laps, laps lead, position differential and passing differential.
The partnership comes on the heels of two other significant DraftKings deals, one with Major League Baseball and the other with Disney. But unlike MLB, which is clearly protected by the daily fantasy sports carveout in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the individual nature of NASCAR races could be problematic from a legal perspective.
According to the UIGEA, DFS games should “reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants” in “multiple real-world sporting or other events.” The latter part of that wording is a key point and throws into question whether NASCAR contests, which are based on single events, should be included in the DFS exception.
For now, that gray area has been enough for market leader FanDuel to steer clear of involving itself in the racing industry. CEO Nigel Eccles has made mention of his company’s aversion to the sport, calling the legal status of such contests “very negative.” Furthermore, he says, NASCAR doesn’t produce enough statistics to make for a viable DFS experience.