NBA Signs Up PlayON As Its Global Daily Fantasy Sports Partner

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has signed up a daily fantasy games (DFS) operator as its official partner to offer fantasy games to basketball fans worldwide. Surprisingly the DFS operator chosen is neither one of the top two sites FanDuel or DraftKings. The NBA surprised a lot of people in the gaming industry when it decided to go with UK based operator called PlayON. The multi-year deal will result in PlayON being the official provider of daily fantasy games for the NBA across various markets in Latin America, Asia and Europe.

In a statement, Salvatore LaRocca, NBA President, Global Partnerships said,

With basketball’s global appeal, we are always looking for new ways to bring authentic NBA experiences to our fans across the world.  Our partnership with PlayON provides us an opportunity to deepen our engagement with our international audience, and bring these fans closer to the game

The decision to partner with PlayON is particularly unexpected since the NBA has an existing stake in FanDuel. The deal will enable NBA to tap into the growing global popularity of baseball and of daily fantasy sports in new markets where the regulatory environment is more predictable than in the United States. Opinions regarding the legality of DFS have been divided in the U.S.

The approach is currently ad-hoc since each state decides on the issue separately and there are still several states with no clear-cut legal stance on DFS. Killian Jones, founder and CEO of PlayON said that the company was committed to ensuring that it offers its services in only those regions where the regulations surrounding DFS operations are clear.

PlayOn offers DFS games in over 100 countries across the world, but handles real money bets in only a few countries where it has the license to do so, namely the UK, Australia and Ireland. It has an existing deal with the European Tour in golf to act as its official DFS provider. This is the only authorized DFS partnership in golf.

Jones noted that the rising popularity of the NBA across the world along with its structure and the large volume of matches, made it attractive to DFS enthusiasts. As a result of this agreement, the 2017 season starting with the NBA playoffs will be available for fans in countries such as Germany, Italy, UK, France, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Australia and the Philippines. Jones added that the games made available would differ region to region, since they would be created taking into account local language, regional preferences and aesthetics.


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