High profile betting and draft fantasy sports operator DraftKings have struck a deal that will see them gain a presence at one of US sports’ most iconic venues.
DraftKings is set to open a new retail sportsbook at the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field in a new arrangement through which they will be named as the official DFS and sports betting partner of the Cubs, though the venue will not be open for several months.
According to reports, the in-person betting facility is unlikely to be able to open its doors to customers before 2022. That’s due to the need to clear a number of regulatory obstacles ahead of the Illinois sportsbook going live. The state’s laws allow for sports teams to host retail betting venues at their home venues, as well as mobile betting services within a radius of five blocks of the stadium, in return for a $10 million license fee. But all such arrangements, including the latest proposal involving the Cubs and DraftKings, require approval from the city governance.
Despite the regulatory hurdles, DraftKings is understandably delighted with the deal. Speaking about the new arrangement, their co-founder Matt Kalish said that they were hoping to provide what he said would be a ‘revolutionary’ sports betting experience for Cubs supporters:
“We look forward to working in collaboration with the Cubs, an organization steeped in tradition, and making our presence felt in and around Wrigleyville.”
The deal is unquestionably good news for the betting operator. DraftKings already has a presence in Illinois, through its arrangement with Casino Queen, and, thanks to a change of heart from the state governor JB Pritzker, it has been given the approval to take remote sports betting sign-ups, making it easier for new customers to set up a DraftKings account.
The deal with the Cubs is a high profile move that has as much to do with brand visibility as increasing betting revenues. As well as their supporter base in Illinois, the Cubs are a popular sports franchise in two nearby states, Indiana and Iowa, which both have thriving sports betting sectors. Both states offer online sports betting and will end all in-person registration rules in 2021.
Speaking about the deal with DraftKings, the President of Business Operations at the Cubs, Crane Kenney, said that a growing number of fans were keen to incorporate betting into their sports experience. He added that they had developed a strong partnership with DraftKings and were delighted to expand this link at a time of growing sports betting popularity in the state.
The Cubs have become the first team to unveil a sports betting partner in the state, but the other major sports teams in Illinois, the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and White Sox could be set to follow as the race to take advantage of the revenue opportunities presented by this type of deal intensifies. A number of sports franchises across the US have struck up partnerships with betting companies, with the Denver Broncos leading the way. The Broncos currently have deals with three sports betting operators, including an on-venue betting lounge arrangement with Betfred.
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