Image for Larry Gibbs Larry Gibbs - October 14, 2022

Draftkings Partners With the Cubs Bringing Sports Wagering Into Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field
  • Sportsbook construction will take place pending all city and state legislation
  • DraftKings has drawn several notable investors including Michael Jordan
  • Recent Illinois legislation has cleared hurdle for online wagering sign-ups

Perhaps, if he were alive today, iconic Harry Caray, the announcer of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, would have to amend his trademark saying to “it’s a beautiful day for baseball and wagering here at Wrigley Field. Holy Cow.”

“The mayor of Rush Street” would likely embrace the opportunity altering his famous announcement last week that legalized sports wagering will make its way into the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. DraftKings Inc. has been appointed as the Official Sports Betting and Daily Fantasy Partner of the Chicago Cubs under the terms of a multi-year deal.  It is estimated to be worth $100 million.

Legally Speaking

But while sports betting is now legal in Illinois, the development of a retail sportsbook would require approval by the city of Chicago.  Reviewing past circumstances and political contention, that might not be a quick and certain path. The city of Chicago would need to sign off on the project, and they’re likely is to be scrutiny from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Also required would be a license from the Illinois Gaming Board, which comes with a hefty $10 million fee.

Construction of an entirely new building or renovation of an existing building would mandate a change to the planned development that paved the way for the Cubs to renovate Wrigley and develop the land around it.  Along with that would be legal sports wagering legislation since sports betting of any kind is currently outlawed in Chicago.

There was some forbearing this was to happen.  It was written into last year’s state legislation to allow legal sports betting in Illinois.  The opportunity for seven sports venues with capacities of 17,000 or more — such as Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, the United Center, and Joliet Speedway to open sports books within five blocks of the facilities.

Matt Kalish, President, and co-founder of DraftKings North America commented:

This is a historic moment, as we are thrilled to align with the renowned Chicago Cubs franchise and iconic Wrigley Field to provide sports bettors in Chicago with revolutionary sports betting experience. As two organizations that share a mutual passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence, we look forward to working in collaboration with the Cubs, an organization steeped in tradition, and making our presence felt in and around Wrigleyville.

Quick Growth for Illinois Sports Wagering

The catalyst for Illinois sports wagering was its recent announcement reversing a policy mandating player sign up at casinos directly to open accounts with sportsbooks.  That original unpopular rule has proven faulty as customers are customarily used to signing up online.  The fateful intervention of the Coronavirus might have taken part cause in putting the state in a more successful initial direction.  That means you can now register and bet on sports anywhere in Illinois within the state’s limits.

President of Business Operations Chicago Cubs, Crane Kenney said:

DraftKings has been a great partner for a number of years and we are excited to expand this relationship as sports betting grows rapidly in Illinois An increasing number of sports fans want to integrate sports betting into their game experience, and we’re excited to be one of the first to engage in developing a retail sportsbook at a professional sports venue

Unrelated to the Cubs and Wrigley, Chicago has seen another sports-wagering company alliance in the news as all-time Bulls basketball hero Michael Jordan has agreed to join the DraftKings board as “special advisor”.   The announcement of Jordan joining the company’s board members helped their stock increase 12% to $41 in pre-market trading.  His appointment joins other high-profile DK investors.  Disney has a 6% share in the company with Bloomberg reporting that billionaires George Soros, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also having significant investment.

The Cubs added in the statement that the proposed sportsbook with DraftKings would allow access for wagering surrounding Wrigley Field.

Harry Caray had many famous sayings treasured by baseball fans and historians. One went: I’ll tell you what’s helped me my entire life. I look at baseball as a game. It’s something where people can go out, enjoy,and have fun. Nothing more.

Now with full sports wagering likely headed to Wrigley Field in 2021, it appears that people in Chicago will have a lot more beyond baseball to potentially experience, have fun and enjoy.

Image for Larry Gibbs

AUTHOR

Larry Gibbs

254 Articles

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.

Email: [email protected]

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