In the summer of 2019, the NBA made history with the league’s first betting partnership with William Hill. More wagering partners would follow. Then, on Nov. 5, the Memphis Grizzlies became the first organization to reach a deal with a gambling operator. It only made sense that a partnership would be coming for the Detroit Pistons, especially considering the Lions and Tigers already have sports betting partnerships.
On Monday, the Pistons announced deals with the two biggest sportsbooks in the country, FanDuel and DraftKings. Both companies will advertise within Little Caesars Arena and on the team’s digital, radio and TV channels.
Detroit bettors will already be familiar with FanDuel. The sportsbook inside MotorCity Casino is FanDuel-branded after the casino and sportsbook operator reached an exclusive deal in March. DraftKings already has a presence in Michigan, too. In June, Bay Mills Resort and Casinos in Brimley agreed to a partnership with DraftKings. The deal with Bay Mills gave DraftKings access to the online Michigan wagering market, in addition to a retail sportsbook on-site at Bay Mills.
For the Pistons, they managed to sign the two largest operators in the U.S. In September, out of the 10 states with legalized online sports wagering, FanDuel and DraftKings were the top operators in five of the states. FanDuel topped New Jersey, Pennsylvania, while DraftKings was the leader in Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon.
DraftKings and FanDuel will spend to promote the deal as they have in other states. That can only help a young and rebuilding team as its moves forward. In addition, the Pistons can look to add other partnerships.
The two operators rose to prominence through their daily fantasy contests. Those daily fantasy sports became legalized in the state of Michigan in Dec. 2019 when the regulation and taxation of those contests were included in expanded gambling bills that were signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Daily fantasy players who enjoy the interface on DraftKings or FanDuel may be more inclined to now follow their sportsbooks after positive experiences, and perhaps even more so considering the Pistons are now official partners of both operators.
FanDuel and DraftKings have already made a push for the services of Michigan bettors. Whether it’s through TV ads, or social media advertising, both have been prevalent recently as Michigan prepares for its pending online sports betting and mobile casino launch. And with the Pistons’ agreement with FanDuel and DraftKings, sports betting-branded sponsorships and commercials will continue to become more common going forward.
As DraftKings, FanDuel and other operators look to sign up Michigan bettors, they will offer promotions. They have already been advertising in the state.
Because Michigan is expected to be one of the top sports betting markets in the U.S., bettors will have plenty of options both retail (commercial and tribal casinos) and online. With the NBA season less than a month away from beginning, those bettors will not only have the Pistons to wager on, they will have full NBA slates nearly every night.
When online sports betting launches, either by the end of the year or early in 2021, the Pistons and NBA will already be playing.