Howdy Partner: FanDuel Makes A Deal With Colts On DFS, Setting Stage For More

Posted on October 16, 2019 - Last Updated on January 3, 2020

For the rest of the current NFL season, Indianapolis Colts fans will see more advertising for FanDuel. While the scope of that is limited to daily fantasy sports right now, the Colts-FanDuel partnership opens the door to more later.

FanDuel currently operates two retail sportsbooks in Indiana and could make its mobile sportsbook available in the Hoosier State as early as this month. That also suggests this partnership might develop further in the future.

Details on the Colts-FanDuel partnership as it stands

On the surface, this is a pretty standard sponsorship deal. In exchange for an undisclosed sum, FanDuel gets the title of “official daily fantasy partner” of the Colts.

That means Colts fans will see more FanDuel ads watching the games and interacting with Colts’ digital properties like social media accounts. The deal is interesting in its own right, regardless of any future implications.

Late last month, the NFL announced an identical partnership with one of FanDuel’s competitors in the DFS space, DraftKings. The two deals work exactly like the relationship between hot dog companies, Major League Baseball and MLB franchises.

While Nathan’s is the official hot dog of MLB, several MLB franchises have individual sponsorship contracts with Nathan’s competitors. In the same way, NFL franchises are privately owned businesses, which participate together in the NFL.

The main difference between DraftKings’ NFL partnership and FanDuel’s Colts partnership is the duration. DraftKings’ deal with the NFL covers multiple years, while FanDuel’s contract with the Colts covers only the rest of this season.

That gives the Colts flexibility. That flexibility includes simply expanding the partnership with FanDuel.

How the Colts may expand, with or without FanDuel

Setting up partnerships like these acts as a “trial run” for both parties.

Because of the daily fantasy sports partnership with the Colts, FanDuel would have an upper hand at landing a potential “official sportsbook” designation with the Colts in the future. By setting the current contract to expire after this season, it will be easy to negotiate new terms.

It’s completely possible that another sportsbook may outbid FanDuel for that title as well. BetRivers and DraftKings are already operating mobile sportsbooks in Indiana.

An official sportsbook designation will likely fetch a higher price compared to the official DFS partner tag. Although the NFL has yet to designate an official sportsbook partner, and that means individual franchises might hesitate to do so themselves before the league, it’s possible discussions to that effect are ongoing now.

While a partnership with an NFL franchise is significant for FanDuel, the real news is the potential for a larger sponsorship deal later. All the claims about legal sports betting destroying the NFL seems to have been fabricated.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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