MLB, as anyone close to the game knows, tracks and acquires a boatload of analytical data–most with immediate application, some not. The partnership, according to DraftKings, will bring more instantaneous data feeds to DraftKings Sportsbook, supplementing the live betting experience.
“DraftKings is proud to be designated as a Major League Baseball Authorized Gaming Operator,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings. “This deal speaks to the commitment we have to our customers and sports leagues alike while providing the safest and most entertaining American-made sportsbook. As a result of this agreement, our customers will experience enhanced live wagering offerings for all MLB games.”
“Given DraftKings’ successes in driving fan engagement and immersive experiences, we’re looking forward to an expanded partnership and further collaboration on engaging products,” said Kenny Gersh, MLB Executive Vice President, Gaming & New Business Ventures. “Buoyed by our collective commitments to drive innovation in the U.S. sports betting marketplace, the tools provided to DraftKings – including fast, rich and reliable data feeds and MLB brand marks – will be central to creating these powerful new ways to consume and connect with our sport.”
With the rise of legalized sports betting in the United States, Major League Baseball has been cautious in seeking out a path to monetization. There’s been a historical aversion of any kind of betting in baseball, going back to the 1919 World Series and gambler Arnold Rothstein’s success in fixing the results. Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were temporarily suspended from the game by Bowie Kuhn for their roles as greeters for Atlantic City casinos. And Pete Rose was suspended for life after betting on the outcomes of games—a penalty he is still serving. In November 2018 MLB had signed a deal with MGM Resorts International to become the sport’s first official gaming partner, sharing advanced stats with the gambling giant and working on a plan to protect the integrity of the game both on and off the field.