February 16, 2016
The Legal Sports Reports states that fantasy sports operator Draft Kings has not renewed its sponsorship deal with the UFC. It appears that the deal expired at the end of 2015 according to the report.
The sponsorship deal could be renewed at any time but a DraftKings representative gave a rather neutral statement about its relationship with the UFC. Per the Legal Sports Report, “We [DraftKings] value our continued relationship with UFC and are very happy with what we were able to accomplish through our partnership – we have great enthusiasm for their offering and are committed to this sport.”
Maybe we are looking to deeply in the verb tense from the statement, but it does sound like either the parties are negotiating a new deal or are moving on from the UFC.
Recently, DraftKings announced the acquisition of MMA Fantasy Sports Operator Kountermove.
DraftKings signage was a mainstay during UFC events this past year. According to the announcement this time last year it also included promotions outside the octagon.
We shall see if the UFC and DraftKings continue their relationship in the future. I would think that the purchase of KounterMove and the decision not to renew with the UFC are separate, but maybe not independent business moves by the company. DraftKings is going through a huge legal and legislative battle across the country with respect to the legalization of daily fantasy sports. One would think that niche sports like MMA would benefit the company. Perhaps the sponsor deal was always for a year to gage the segment of MMA fans and the Kountermove purchase offered more flexibility in what it seeks to do.