- The partnership between the DraftKings and UFC makes the sportsbook the organization’s largest sponsor
- The two have agreed on a 5-year sponsorship deal
DraftKings UFC Partnership: Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premier combat sports league, has pinned down DraftKings to be the official daily fantasy and sportsbook partner for the United States and Canada. The sponsorship deal is a five-year contract.
DraftKings was founded in 2012 and focused on providing fans a place to play daily fantasy as opposed to the traditional fantasy leagues that begin at the start and through a whole season. Players select a lineup for that particular day and compete against other users’ lineups for the chance at a pool of winnings.
As DraftKings has become more popular they expanded into sportsbooks. In April of 2020 at the company’s initial public offering, DraftKings was valued at $3.3 billion dollars
Through this partnership, DraftKings will bring activations, in broadcast-odd integration, in-match promotions, and UFC branding across its products. DraftKings will now hold the rights to use UFC logos, titles and will feature their own logo in the fighting octagon on the canvas mats.
Fans began to take notice of the DraftKings additions to the Octagon this weekend during UFC 259. A DraftKings clock was added on the Octagon and along with high-definition screens that count down the time remaining in each round. More integrations are expected in the near future.
On a weekly basis, DraftKings will also provide fans with free-to-play UFC games as well as enhanced prop bets and other innovative sportsbook opportunities.
Ahead of UFC 259 on March 6, DraftKings launched a free-to-play UFC pool with $10K in prizing, available for fans to enter and compete nationwide.
“These guys have a platform that is second-to-none,” said Lawrence Epstein, COO of UFC “And that’s what makes this deal so groundbreaking.”
This is the largest sponsorship deal to date signed by the UFC. The partnership is worth over 350 million dollars. This includes cash payments and marketing.
The exact amount of cash to be paid from DraftKings is unknown but rumors are indicating it is somewhere in the hundreds of millions. This would be a new record not only for the UFC but all of the sports leagues as it would be the largest between a sportsbook and professional league.
Dana White, the president of UFC, has laid out a masterclass of how to build a professional sports league. White was installed as president of the UFC in 2002 after the league was bought for $2 million dollars, today the league is worth over $6 billion dollars.
White and the UFC have been at the forefront of integrating betting opportunities into their product. In turn, bookmakers are seeing more interest in MMA.
“Combat sports, and UFC in particular, have scaled significantly across both our sportsbook and daily fantasy verticals, evolving from a niche offering to a high-demand category that we believe will only grow further as we innovate,” DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins said in the release.
A 2018 Supreme Court case repealed the law preventing states from forming sports betting industries. Since the repeal of this law professional leagues have been partnering with bookmakers and fantasy operators like DraftKings to create additional revenue streams.
The loss of ticket sales revenue due to COVID shutdowns could push leagues to adopt legalized sports betting as a means of covering that loss.
Other leagues that have made their way into betting are the MLB, NHL, NBA, and PGA tour. Unlike the UFC though, These leagues have faced issues of fan interaction as their viewership has aged.
The hope for them is that sports betting will attract the younger generation.