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Pulse


US SPORTS BETTING DRAFTKINGS


DraftKings: Sports fandom is not limited to major traditional leagues


DraftKings has recently penned multiple partnerships ranging from the PGA Tour to the Professional Fighters League. DraftKings’ Mike Hermalyn explains the rationale and why the operator is expanding its appeal to non-traditional sports fans.


How has DraftKings adapted to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 sports calendar over the last 15 months?


Mike Hermalyn, SVP Business Development, DraftKings


Hermalyn leads business development focusing on leagues, teams, media, talent, and platforms. He is responsible for identifying, evaluating and managing partnerships, vendor relationships, new business concepts and various growth initiatives.


With the big sports and leagues out of commission, we looked more at esports and simulations. Tese are exciting, fast-growing markets that obviously didn’t have the same constraints that live sports did last year.


In just a few weeks, DraftKings’ daily fantasy eSports selection went from League of Legends alone to also include Call of Duty, Counter Strike and Rocket League.


We also launched Madden NFL and NBA 2K contests with live commentary broadcasts during this period. And auto racing was a really interesting opportunity for us as well. Trough our partnership with NASCAR, we were able to


DraftKings’ daily fantasy eSports selection went from League of Legends alone to also include Call of Duty, Counter Strike and Rocket League. We also launched Madden NFL and NBA 2K contests with live commentary broadcasts during this period. And auto racing was a really interesting opportunity for us as well. Through our partnership with NASCAR, we were able to offer fantasy and betting on the eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series where professional drivers raced virtually.


P100 WIRE / PULSE / INSIGHT / REPORTS


offer fantasy and betting on the eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series where professional drivers raced virtually. You might remember that live sports came back overseas first, with Korean baseball, German Bundesliga soccer and Australian football. We expanded our international sports offerings to be there as these games re-emerged.


Finally, DraftKing got involved in non-sports opportunities. We launched free-to play-pools products that let people compete (and win money) from a variety of events in politics and pop culture. Many of these innovations have continued to be mainstays today, even as major sports have returned.


How has the US sports betting scene developed over the last year? What has been key to DraftKings maintaining its leading position in the space?


Increased access to legal sports betting has probably been the biggest development. Our Sportsbook is now in more states than anyone else’s. In the past year, we’ve launched in several new jurisdictions including Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia.


We’ve developed a ton of relationships with local legislators to advocate for sports betting legalisation at the grassroots level. Additionally, the acquisition of SBTech has jumpstarted us into becoming the first vertically-integrated sports betting operator in the country.


News of fresh partnerships continues apace with DraftKings signing deals with sporting bodies from the National Football League to the PGA Tour. How significant are these partnerships to DraftKings' growth strategy?


Tese types of agreements provide huge exposure to the DraftKings brand. Tey boost credibility with fans by putting DraftKings next to some of the most prominent sports leagues on the planet. Pro sports leagues understand the amplified engagement that sports betting creates.


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