DraftKings UK launch driven by sports partnerships

DraftKings UK launch driven by sports partnerships

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Former Bwin.party executive Jeffrey Haas will lead DraftKings' UK operations

DraftKings will look to duplicate its successful US strategy of high-profile sports partnerships after announcing its expansion into the UK.

The daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator has now been awarded a UK pool betting and software licence - two months after TotallyGaming.com broke the news that it had applied to the Gambling Commission – and said it will launch its operations before the end of 2015.

The company looks set to start with a bang, having already hired Jeffrey Haas, previously Bwin.party’s group director (poker), to head up its international operations, and chief executive Jason Robins said that DraftKings wants to use partnerships with sports clubs and leagues as a driving force.

“Our expansion into the UK marks a milestone moment in the growth of DraftKings as we introduce our world-class product to new audiences,” Robins said. “We will add new sports and games to our burgeoning roster of offerings and further connect fans to their favourite teams and players.

“We also welcome the opportunity to forge new partnerships with leagues, teams and media outlets internationally as we have done with exceptional success in the US.”

DraftKings, launched in 2012 and recently valued at $1.36bn (€1.23bn), is the exclusive DFS partner of Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), NASCAR, Major League Soccer (MLS) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It also has partnerships with 27 of the 30 MLB teams, five National Football League franchises, including the Dallas Cowboys, and arenas such as Madison Square Gardens and the Staples Center.

Chief international officer Haas will manage the London office, including the hiring of more than 20 new positions, and will also oversee planned launches in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America in 2016.

DraftKings is already advertising for a partnerships and sponsorships manager in London, as well as other marketing roles, and TotallyGaming.com understands that the operator will look to sign deals with the giants of the English Premier League top-tier football competition and perhaps even the league itself.

Mondogoal is the only DFS operator to currently have deals in place with major European football clubs, having agreed partnerships with Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Roma and Tottenham Hotspur, however other major teams will surely be interested in adding ‘official DFS partners’ to the agreements they already have with betting firms.

“DraftKings is well-poised for explosive growth internationally, and I am excited to lead their expansion efforts,” Haas said. "DFS is a growing category outside North America, and we have a tremendous opportunity to engage sports fans around the world.

“We will look to maintain our leadership position in the DFS industry – creating innovative games across the most sports, providing our players with elite customer service and fostering mutually-beneficial relationships with our partners.”

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