Steelers and FanDuel Agree on Newest NFL-DFS Partnership
The Pittsburgh Steelers are partnering with FanDuel to make that company the official daily sports fantasy partner of one of the NFL’s most popular teams, according to a press release on FanDuel’s official website.
That agreement, a first of its kind for the Steelers, is designed to allow FanDuel marketing opportunities at the team’s home stadium, Heinz Field, as well as various other promotional tools which range from LED and scoreboard signage space to radio, television and digital advertising.
“We’re excited to bring FanDuel into the fold as our Official Daily Fantasy Partner,” Steelers VP of sales & marketing Ryan Huzjak said in the release. “We think Steelers fans will enjoy the FanDuel platform and the opportunity to compete for unique Steelers prizes.”
Deal Similar to Colts-FanDuel Partnership
The Steelers’ deal with FanDuel seems similar to the agreement announced this month between FanDuel and the Indianapolis Colts. Both deals are essentially marketing agreements aimed at increasing fan engagement, and both are only for the remainder of the 2019-20 NFL season.
”We truly admire the historical franchise the Steelers have built, and Pittsburgh is an incredible sports town,” FanDuel’s CEO Matt King said in “Our Pennsylvania customers love their teams and their players, and by partnering with the Steelers, we’ll further deliver on our promise to further engage fans and meaningfully grow our brand.”
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It’s likely that each side wants to see how effective these types of marketing arrangements are between NFL teams and DFS providers before committing to longer contractual obligations. The reach of DFS has grown exponentially over recent years but the NFL has moved relatively slowly compared to the other major North American professional sports leagues to fully embrace the gaming industry.
So both the NFL and FanDuel seem to be using this year as a trial run of sorts in order to determine what makes sense for the companies going forward.
DFS Could Lead to Similar Sports Betting Deals
The NFL’s slow move toward capitalizing on the U.S. sports betting environment that began after the Supreme Court overturned a decades-long federal ban on sports gambling in May 2018 is something to keep an eye on as more DFS deals happen. And Pennsylvania has been one of the states most eager to take to sports betting in the post-PASPA era.
Long an industry DFS leader, FanDuel has also become a major figure in the U.S. sports betting market after opening its first sportsbook last year in New Jersey. Pivoting off of its brand recognition, FanDuel is already one of the top sportsbooks in the country.
The NFL has yet to name an official sports betting partner in the U.S. market, but the recent uptick in sponsorship agreements between NFL teams and DFS partners, as well as similar agreements with official casino partners, is a good sign that the NFL is on its way to fully embracing sports betting.