Two Boston-based sports entities joined corporate hands Thursday, when DraftKings became the official daily fantasy sports partner of the Celtics.
The deal allows DraftKings to use the Celtics’ logo, and gain access to assorted marketing and promotional events such as VIP watch parties, a “Play on the Parquet” event, and sweepstakes.
Because Massachusetts has not approved sports betting, DraftKings will associate with the Celtics strictly at the daily fantasy sports levels. In its two other deals with NBA teams — the Pacers and 76ers — a sports betting component was added to the deal, since both Indiana and Pennsylvania have legalized sports betting.
Should Massachusetts adopt sports betting, it is not a stretch to imagine the partnership expanding to Draft Kings becoming betting partners with the Celtics. In Indianapolis, DraftKings is the team’s official sports betting partner, as well as its daily fantasy sports partner. With the Sixers, DraftKings is a sportsbook and online casino partner as well.
“Daily fantasy sports players are amongst the most highly engaged NBA fans,” said Celtics president Rich Gotham in a statement. “We’re happy to collaborate with our hometown partner, DraftKings, to serve Celtics fans through a variety of group activations and game day elements, including the presentation of our starting lineup across social channels.”
Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings, heralded the agreements in the same press release: “It is with great enthusiasm that we announce these multi-year partnerships with the Celtics, 76ers, and Pacers. The NBA represents DraftKings’ second-most-popular sport, and we are thrilled to offer our fanbase a continually unique and authentic sports gaming product. Each of these partnerships represent a common strategy and stress the importance NBA teams and DraftKings place on fan engagement and overall customer experience.”
On a related note, the NBA announced it is partnering with PointsBet, a sportsbook operator. One project will be a “Win Probability Metric” used across assorted NBA media platforms. The tool will allow fans real-time info on projected outcomes to assist them with their wagering decisions.
Owning up to it
On Wednesday, Nate Ebner and Patrick Chung of the Patriots will be introduced as partial owners of the New England Free Jacks, the brand-new entry in Major League Rugby . . . Boston-based Gillette and Amazon’s Twitch announced their “Gillette Gaming Alliance,” a group of five Twitch streamers from around the world who will create content for fans. The five — Dr Lupo, NateHill, DogDog, Alanzoka, and Elded — will help boost the “Bits for Blades” program, which, according to a press release, “provides fans the opportunity to earn Twitch Bits, a virtual good users can send in chat to support and cheer for their favorite streamers.” . . . The NBA Players Association is launching its own Accelerator program to allow its entrepreneurial-minded players a chance to work with a mentor over the summer, attend workshops, and hone a pitch in a “Shark Tank”-style setting, according to Forbes.
Baskets of cash
In club valuation rankings released by Forbes this week, the Celtics remained in fifth place among the 30 NBA teams with a value of $3.1 billion. That’s up 11 percent from last year. Since the Wyc Grousbeck-led ownership group bought the team in 2002 for $360 million, it has grown at an average annual rate of 45 percent over the last 17 years, with a total growth of 761 percent. The order of the top five teams remained the same — Knicks, $4.6 billion; Lakers, $4.4 billion; Warriors, $4.3 billion, Bulls, $3.2 billion; then the Celtics — with the Warriors’ value accruing the single biggest one-year bump, at 23 percent. The reigning champions Raptors saw the biggest one-year spike, at 25 percent, as their value grew to 10th largest at $2.1 billion. The average value of a team was $2.12 billion, up 14 percent. Compare that with the NFL, where the average value of a franchise is $2.86 billion, up 11 percent, and MLB, with an average franchise value of $1.78 billion, up 8 percent.
Going out of style
One slightly off-note for basketball: Sales of basketball shoes have dropped to just 4 percent of the sneaker market, according to the NPD research firm. In 2014, basketball shoes represented 13 percent of the market. On the rise are “athleisure” shoes, less bulky than basketball shoes. Another reason for the decline, which most readers already suspected, is that basketball shoes, according to a UBS analyst quoted in a Yahoo finance story, don’t work, style-wise, with the trend in menswear of tighter, shorter pants.