DraftKings has hailed a “groundbreaking” agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) that sees it become the mixed martial arts competition’s official sportsbook and daily fantasy partner.
The agreement will allow DraftKings to offer in-game promotions, activations, in-broadcast odds integrations and UFC branding across its daily fantasy and betting products.
It will also run a series of weekly free-to-play games, as well as enhanced prop bets and other sportsbook activations. This includes a $10,000 free-to-play pool, that will be accepting entries in the run-up to UFC 259 on 6 March.
The operator also becomes the presenting partner of the UFC Fight Clock, the championship’s new proprietary timekeeping system.
It displays on multiple screens at each event, to ensure players and fans have a view of time remaining in each round. The DraftKings-branded version will debut during the bout between Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in Las Vegas this Saturday (6 March).
DraftKings’ branding will also appear on the Octagon canvas at select UFC events and in bouts held as part of Dana White’s Contender Series, which takes place in Las Vegas.
Linear and digital broadcasts and pay-per-view fights, social media assets and programming on the competition’s streaming service UFC Fight Pass will carry its branding.
“This is a massive deal that will benefit UFC, DraftKings, and most of all the fans,” UFC president Dana White said.
“DraftKings is the best at what they do in the betting and daily fantasy space, and unlike other sports, UFC has no off season,” he said. “The action will be non-stop for fans of UFC and DraftKings. This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones, and I’m looking forward to all the exciting things we’re going to do with DraftKings over the next few years.”
DraftKings chief executive and co-founder Jason Robins said combat sports, and UFC in particular, had scaled significantly across its sportsbook and daily fantasy verticals to emerge as a key growth sport for the operator.
“While DraftKings and UFC have previously collaborated on specific events, we are proud to become official partners and explore even more impactful integrations that prioritize the fan experience.”
While DraftKings has become the UFC’s first sports betting and daily fantasy partner, the competition has already engaged with the real-money gaming sector, through a partnership with IMG Arena.
This led to the creation of UFC Event Center, a dedicated betting portal that allows users to bet on fights, view live stats and event information, and access 3D visualizations of action.
UFC also partnered free-to-play gamification specialist Low 6 to develop branded pick’em contests on its fights.