DraftKings clock at UFC venue.
DraftKings announced Thursday it has entered a licensing agreement with mixed martial arts organization UFC.
The agreement grants DraftKings the rights to be UFC’s sportsbook partner and includes rights to licensing a countdown clock. UFC will also show DraftKings betting odds in its fight broadcasts.
The deal shows DraftKings is picking up where it left off in 2020, aligning partnerships with top sports companies to put itself where it believes sports fans are. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ chief business officer, said the agreement will give DraftKings brand control over an installed clock in arenas where UFC events are held.
“It’s going to allow the fighter and fans the ability to see the time left in a round in a way that they haven’t before,” Kucharz said. “It’s a big deal because it’ll be integrated into the production technology, and fans and fighters will have the ability to see the countdown clock that people traditionally see watching at home.”
The announcement follows a 2019 $1.5 billion media rights deal between UFC and Disney-owned ESPN.
“This is a massive deal that will benefit UFC, DraftKings, and most of all the fans,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “DraftKings is the best at what they do in the betting and daily fantasy space, and unlike other sports, UFC has no off-season. The action will be non-stop for fans of UFC and DraftKings. This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones.”
In this handout image provided by UFC, (R-L) Dustin Jacoby kicks Maxim Grishin of Russia in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jeff Bottari | Zuffa LLC | Getty Images
DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said: “Combat sports, and UFC in particular, have scaled significantly across both our sportsbook and daily fantasy verticals, evolving from a niche offering to a high-demand category that we believe will only grow further as we innovate.”
DraftKings, which announced an integration deal with DISH Network on Wednesday, said wagers around January’s UFC 257 event was the “No. 1 MMA event we ever had.” The firm declined to provide user data around the event, which featured the fighter Conor McGregor.
DraftKings said it saw engagement growth around UFC-related bets in 2020 as more states added sports gambling. Currently, 20 states, plus Washington, D.C., allow online sports betting. Five states legalized sports wagering but are not yet operational, and 16 states are working on legislation. DraftKings mobile betting is active in 12 states.
In February, DraftKings reported 2020 fourth-quarter revenue of $322 million and increased its 2021 revenue projection from the $750 million range to as much as $1 billion.
“We are focused on the fan and going places the sports fans wants to be and how they want to engage,” Kucharz said. “You’re going to see some new and exciting things as the relationship grows over time.”