he deal represents the first time that DraftKings has partnered with a sports league north of the border, although it does have an existing relationship with MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.), which counts the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and MLS’s Toronto FC among its holdings.
The new alliance will also see the CFL featured on a major DFS site for the first time, and if past trends are any indication, it should garner the league plenty of new eyeballs that may not have considered sampling their product otherwise. As per the official press release announcing the new partnership, through CFL-themed contests, DraftKings users will have the opportunity “to win prizes, tickets and exclusive CFL VIP experiences”.
To wit, the DraftKings lobby currently has multiple free-to-play contests that feature tickets to each of the CFL’s nine teams’ home games as the respective prizes. The announcement also emphasizes that “the CFL will be fully integrated across DraftKings digital properties, including online and mobile”, and that the contests will be a visible presence “across the league’s media and promotional platforms.”
DraftKings has also rolled out a diverse array of paid contests offerings for the league’s opening week, which unfolds between Thursday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 25th. As would be typical for the contests it runs for most other major sports, entry fees range from as little as 25 cents to $1,060, and a full selection of both cash games and tournaments are available. A CFL $5000 Kick-Off Freeroll that features a first prize payout of $1,000 and 778 DK contest tickets for the remaining cashing positions will be a part of the Week 1 offerings as well.
The introduction of CFL gameplay will certainly be an interesting dynamic to monitor on the actual contest leaderboards, as information and tout articles and sites will be relatively scarce at first. Given the league’s considerably low penetration into the American sports fan’s consciousness– despite having been televised at multiple points throughout its existence on ESPN and its properties, including currently—there would appear to be a strong possibility, at least initially, of the proverbial competitive level playing field that many have clamored for.
The DraftKings-CFL partnership is initially for just the 2016 season, but if it evolves as hoped, there would certainly figure to be mutual interest in a longer-term relationship. DraftKings is clearly looking to continue expanding into new markets, while the CFL appears to view the opportunity as a way to engage a younger generation of fans that will enhance its viewership and overall visibility throughout all of North America.