DraftKings Could Be Setting Up For A Run At Tennessee Sports Betting

Posted on November 14, 2019 - Last Updated on March 9, 2020

One of the leading online and retail sportsbook operators in several states has made a move that hints at expanding into the Tennessee legal sports betting market.

DraftKings is now an official sportsbook partner of the NBA. The new DraftKings-NBA partnership puts the online sportsbook operator in prime position to enter the market in Tennessee when it goes live.

Details on the new DraftKings-NBA partnership

The multiyear contract gives DraftKings access to league trademarks for use on its platforms. They’re also set to benefit in another major way.

DraftKings also gets access to the NBA’s official league data, compiled by Sportradar. The online sportsbook can use that data to set its lines, particularly for in-game wagers.

In-game betting includes myriad bets on events that happen during the course of a sporting event, as opposed to the event’s final outcome. An example from the NBA would be a bet on which player will score the game’s first point.

This deal puts DraftKings out ahead of a requirement for operators in the Volunteer State. The sports betting law requires legal Tennessee sportsbooks to set their live wagers using official data provided by the leagues.

For NBA games, DraftKings is now compliant with that provision. The same could apply for NFL games, as DraftKings has a similar agreement in place with that league already as well.

DraftKings appears the readiest for Tennessee betting

DraftKings has a partnership with the NFL, but it’s currently limited to the daily fantasy product only. Regardless, that contract acts as a placeholder for a future official sportsbook deal later.

Sportradar also provides the official data service for the NFL. Because of the language in Tennessee’s law regarding in-game wagers and the popularity of live bets, the likelihood of DraftKings expanding its use of Sportradar’s service to include NFL games is strong.

When that happens, DraftKings will be ready to go in Tennessee from that angle. While FanDuel and MGM also have official sportsbook deals with the NBA, DraftKings could be the first to secure deals with both the NBA and NFL.

With partnerships set with the leagues, striking deals with professional teams in the Volunteer State could follow. Currently, neither the Memphis Grizzlies nor the Tennessee Titans have franchise-level sponsorship deals with any DFS or sportsbook companies.

DraftKings had a DFS sponsorship with the Titans in the past, and FanDuel had such an arrangement with the Grizzlies. Both contracts have since expired.

Forging a partnership with the Grizzlies, even if it’s just for DFS purposes for now, might prove beneficial for DraftKings later. Kandace C. Stewart, Memphis’ business operations and external affairs director, is one of eight current members of the new Tennessee Sports Betting Council.

That body will be responsible for adopting regulations and drafting procedures for future legal sportsbooks in Tennessee. For DraftKings, it could prove beneficial to have the Grizzlies’ interests aligned with its own.

A potential launch date for DraftKings in Tennessee could still be months away. What is clear at this point is that the groundwork is being laid.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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