´The Arena Football League has announced partnership deals with daily fantasy sports provider DraftKings and the Vegas Stats and Information Network, explaining that the objective is to improve fan engagement over the next two seasons, delivering a more interactive experience to fans, who will be able to play daily fantasy sports games based on the league and enjoy more league broadcasts, particularly through online streaming.
“The partnerships we’re announcing today give fans a whole new range of ways to get in on the action of arena football,” said AFL Executive Committee chairman Ron Jaworski.
Although it has been in operation for 31 seasons and at one time counted 19 teams in its membership, the Arena League is currently home to just four teams, Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor, which each joined last season, and the Albany Empire, which is new to the league this year.
DraftKings will become the AFL's exclusive daily fantasy partner, though fans and players won’t see the results of this arrangement until the 2019 season, when DraftKings is expected to launch an AFL fantasy game and start streaming league games in its app.
The Vegas Stats and Information Network deal will provide fans, punters, and operators with more information and statistics about individual players, teams, and matchups each week. As part of the agreement, VSiN will produce pre-game shows and segments each week that are focused on the betting odds of AFL games.
That could be a valuable addition to the AFL should the US Supreme Court reach a decision that allows states to regulate sports betting.
Other player engagement strategies being deployed by the AFL include an agreement with Facebook that will see 12 games broadcast live in the United States through Facebook Watch. Those games will also be offered internationally through the AFL page.
The league is also boosting its presentation capabilities via an agreement with Swiss data provider Sportradar, which is to create a new API which allows the league to automatically distribute data and statistics to partners.