The NFL continues to make moves in the evolving sports gaming space and on Thursday named DraftKings the league's first official daily fantasy sports partner.
As part of a multiyear partnership, DraftKings will receive exclusive sponsorship and NFL branding across its fantasy platform. The two entities will collaborate on content for the DraftKings app, including marks, logos, data, NextGen Stats and NFL-produced video clips.
Daily fantasy sports skyrocketed in popularity five years ago, with Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL each partnering with DFS operators. NFL franchises formed commercial partnership with DFS companies, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft each invested in DraftKings.
The NFL, at the league level, however, kept its distance until now.
"This is a defining moment in the daily fantasy sports industry," Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings, said in a release announcing the partnership.
Roughly 19% of Americans are projected to participate in fantasy sports this year, according to data from the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association. The NFL remains the most popular league for fantasy sports. DraftKings says nearly 90% of its users have played in an NFL daily fantasy contest.
"Daily fantasy football has been a tremendous vehicle for fans of all types to deep their engagement with the NFL," Renie Anderson, chief revenue officer and executive vice president of NFL partnerships, said in the release.
The partnership does not include promotional rights for DraftKings' traditional sports betting operations. The NFL did partner with Australian bookmaker TAB last week.