DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) has signed a multi-year agreement with National Basketball Association (NBA) league member Charlotte Hornets, making it the franchise’s exclusive official daily fantasy sports partner.
The deal, which significantly increases the Boston-based sports betting company’s presence in North Carolina, while also gaining access to the Eastern Conference Southeast Division member’s trademarks and logos. Additionally, DraftKings-branded LED signage will be a prominent feature both courtside and on the basket stanchion at the Spectrum Center arena in Uptown Charlotte, and logo displays on top of the basketball backboards.
According to the official press release…
…both DraftKings and Hornets Sports & Entertainment will collaborate on one-of-a-kind social promotions and content in an effort to enhance the alignment of the collective brands.
In a statement in the news release, Chief Business Officer for DraftKings, Ezra Kucharz said…
“Charlotte Hornets basketball games are must-watch TV for the NBA, and we look forward to providing Hornets fans with a best-in-class gaming experience.
“We look forward to deepening our business relationship with the Hornets organization through this new agreement and showcasing DraftKings in North Carolina.”
New mobile game:
Also, part of the business venture, a free-to-play, Charlotte Hornets-themed predictive game, to be developed by the two companies. The game will reportedly become part of the NBA team’s mobile app. The collaboration also includes VIP “experiential events” at Hornets games, including courtside shootarounds and press conference coverage, alongside coach and staff meet and greets and more.
“We’re excited to enter this partnership with DraftKings and bring its daily fantasy sports products to our great Hornets fans,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Collaborating with DraftKings will allow us to offer our fans engaging new experiences from the leader in this emerging area.”
The move by the NBA franchise comes after being without a fantasy sports and gaming partner for more than a year, having previously aligned with DraftKings’ rival Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel in 2015 in a multi-year sponsorship deal that at the time was valued in the mid-six figures by industry sources.
Dueling U.S. market presence:
In related news, DraftKings recently launched its mobile and online sportsbook in its 12th state, after going live in Virginia where sports betting opened on Thursday, January 21, 2021, when state regulators gave the first license to FanDuel via a partnership with the Washington Football Team.
The Massachusetts-based firm’s [DraftKings], iOS and Android-enabled sports betting app were already available in Tennessee, Mississippi, West Virginia, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, New Hampshire, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in Michigan where on January 22, 2021, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), authorized nine casinos along with their platform providers to launch.