US news sources have reported that the NBA (basketball) and MLB (baseball) leagues will move to divest their respective stakes in daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators’ DraftKings and FanDuel.
In 2015 the MLB had participated in a $300 million investment round, backing DraftKings enterprise as official ‘MLB Fantasy Sports Partner’.
The NBA acquired its stake in FanDuel, supporting the DFS operator’s 2015 $275 million Series E venturing funding round.
Both pro-leagues are reported to be reviewing their relationships with the leading fantasy sports operators, in light of changing dynamics within US sports.
The MLB confirmed to ESPN that it had ‘initiated discussion’ relating to the future structure of its partnership with DraftKings.
Mike Bass the NBA’s VP of Communications stated to ESPN ‘fresh look’ at FanDuel’s partnership was needed. Furthermore, Bass highlighted that the NBA had not dropped FanDuel as a league sponsor.
“FanDuel has been, and will remain, a great partner; we have simply modified some of the components of our partnership.”
At present, the four major US pro-leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL) are reported to be reviewing their options and policy, as the US Supreme Court reviews a federal repeal of 1992 PASPA provisions, which could lead to the opening of a licensed US sports betting market.
Responding to the news, DraftKings governance has stated that it will ‘remain close to the MLB’s organisation’.
“Major League Baseball was the first professional league to invest in DraftKings and their partnership over the last five years has been instrumental to our growth and success. Our ties to MLB are as strong as they have ever been.”