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While Michigan eagerly awaits the dawn of online sports wagering in late December, the NBA Detroit Pistons announced they have signed multiyear sponsorship agreements with DraftKings Inc. and the FanDuel Group.
Both Boston-based DraftKings Sportsbook and New York City-based FanDuel were named as “official sports betting partners of the Pistons,” according to the Monday news release. The Pistons are the first professional sports team to have two simultaneous deals with these sports wagering and fantasy sports betting giants.
The financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
In addition to obtaining use of official Pistons logos, each partnership will include a mix of marketing assets. They will include in-arena signage and activations at Little Caesars Arena where the Pistons play, television, and digital advertising, plus TV and radio presence to help drive fans to each company’s sports betting website.
Mike Zavodsky, a chief business officer for the Pistons, said:
We appreciate the partnership-minded and collaborative approach that both FanDuel and DraftKings brought to the table. We look forward to utilizing our platform to help each grow their presence within and connectivity to the Pistons and greater Detroit Metro communities.
As part of their partnership with FanDuel, the Pistons will also partner with MotorCity Casino Hotel in downtown Detroit. FanDuel and MotorCity Casino Hotel are planning to offer game-day experiences at the newly designed FanDuel Sportsbook at the MotorCity Casino.
On game days, MotorCity Casino will provide fans with giveaways, exclusive viewing parties, and other experiences to enhance the sports betting experience before, during, and after the Pistons games.
FanDuel chief marketing officer Mike Raffensperger said in a release:
This new relationship will create unique approaches for us to reach Pistons fans.With the FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino and mobile gaming offerings on the FanDuel Sportsbook app, we will together offer engaging experiences both inside and outside the arena while giving fans access to unique betting promotions and content.
For DraftKings Sportsbook, the Pistons are planning to hold a “Piston for a Day” VIP fan experience contest. An opportunity that will allow winners to sign a “Pistons Contract” for a day. Also pose for a photo with a front office staff member, receive a postgame shot on the Little Caesars Arena floor, attend the team’s one-hour shootaround on the Pistons practice court at the Henny Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center plus more.
DraftKings chief business officer Ezra Kucharz said:
As our first professional team activation in the state of Michigan, we are thrilled to join forces with the Detroit Pistons ahead of our pending market introduction. This deal deepens our relationship with a prominent local team to facilitate more immersive fan experiences, both for Michiganders familiar with regulated gaming products as well as newcomers to space.
Although a specific day has not been set, online gaming is expected to begin in Michigan during Christmas week in December. The Michigan Gaming Control Board said it aims for online betting to go live by the end of the year. After Governor Whitman signed legislation approving sports wagering, casinos in the state launched onsite location sports betting in March 2020.
Other sportsbook deals in the state involving professional sports teams include the Detroit Lions and Red Wings partnering with BetMGM, which occurred earlier this year. The Detroit Tigers most recently joined up with PointsBet in July.
Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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