Detroit Pistons Link With DraftKings, FanDuel For Sports Betting Partnership

Posted By Matt Schoch on November 30, 2020

The final Detroit professional sports team struck up a pair of sports betting partnerships, opting for the industry leaders.

The Detroit Pistons announced pacts with DraftKings and FanDuel on Monday morning, joining their three counterparts. All of them are hoping that betting on the NBA in Michigan is a big deal.

The Lions and Red Wings had previously announced deals with BetMGM, while the Tigers were the first MLB team to forge a betting partnership, inking with PointsBet this summer.

Michigan online sports betting could launch in late December, though early 2021 is still possible.

Either way, online gambling will launch before fans are allowed back in arenas. Fifteen operators should eventually go live through partnership with casino operators, including the state’s 12 federally recognized Native American tribes.

Pistons team up with DraftKings, FanDuel

DraftKings and FanDuel figure to be among the sports betting operators at the starting line in Michigan.

The companies should also get a boost from the deal, which allows use of official Pistons marks and logos. The deals will include a mix of marketing assets, including in-arena signage and activations, television and digital advertising, and TV and radio presence to drive Pistons fans to each entity’s sports betting offerings.

“We appreciate the partnership-minded and collaborative approach that both FanDuel and DraftKings brought to the table,” said Mike Zavodsky, chief business officer for the Pistons.  “We look forward to utilizing our platform to help each grow their presence within and connectivity to the Pistons and greater Detroit Metro communities.”

The deal is FanDuel’s second with an NBA team, joining the pact with the Memphis Grizzlies this month.

Unlike a DraftKings deal this year with the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, there will not be a sportsbook at LCA.

Deal also includes partnership with MotorCity Casino

The Pistons also will partner with downtown Detroit’s MotorCity Casino, which is owned by Marian Ilitch. Ilitch is the matriarch of the family, owners of the Tigers and Red Wings.

MotorCity features its own retail FanDuel Sportsbook, which opened in March. The book will offer game-day experiences from the deal. MotorCity is closed through at least next week because of the pandemic.

MotorCity Casino will have game-day giveaways, exclusive viewing parties and other sports betting experiences before, during and after games.

The casino hosted official team watch parties for select road games the past couple seasons at its Sound Board venue.

“The Pistons are a progressive and forward-thinking franchise committed to its fans, and we see an incredibly valuable partnership opportunity as we connect our retail Sportsbook experience with Pistons game action in the arena,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel. “This new relationship will create unique approaches for us to reach Pistons fans. With the FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino and mobile gaming offerings on the FanDuel Sportsbook app, we will together offer engaging experiences both inside and outside the arena while giving fans access to unique betting promotions and content.”

DraftKings will let fans be ‘Piston For A Day’

Fans will have an opportunity to “join” the team as part of the most specific feature announced in the partnership.

DraftKings users can enter a contest to be a “Piston For A Day.”

The VIP experience will include:

  • A “Pistons Contract”
  • A photo opportunity with members of the front office
  • A personalized Pistons jersey and warm-up clothing
  • A locker room tour
  • A postgame shot at LCA
  • Private access for a one-hour shootaround at the team’s practice facility in the New Center area.

“As our first professional team activation in the state of Michigan, we are thrilled to join forces with the Detroit Pistons ahead of our pending market introduction,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer, DraftKings. “This deal deepens our relationship with a prominent local team to facilitate more immersive fan experiences, both for Michiganders familiar with regulated gaming products as well as newcomers to the space.”

DraftKings partnered with the Bay Mills Indian Community for Michigan access. The company announced it is the exclusive daily fantasy sports provider for the Pistons.

Photo by Getty Images
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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