COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the sports world. For bettors, uncertainty reigns, even as the NBA and MLB are gearing up for precarious returns.
But, if nothing else, the pandemic has introduced fans to a bevy of unique sports and foreign leagues. (Korean baseball at 5 a.m., anyone?)
Now, DraftKings Sportsbook has announced its latest lift to the ranks of relevancy: lacrosse.
And Indiana bettors will soon be able to take advantage.
DraftKings to sponsor summer lacrosse tournament
DraftKings announced on Thursday it is partnering with the Premier Lacrosse League.
The partnership leaves DraftKings as the sports betting partner of PLL and its upcoming Championship Series. The series will run from July 25 to Aug. 9 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.
Players will be quarantined, limiting the chance of a delay or cancellation.
Notably, DraftKings will sponsor all analytics during the series’ broadcast on NBC. A media release notes the two sides will “create a proprietary lacrosse data analytics platform” to inform “fans about key trends and uncover lacrosse statistics.”
That will be needed information for anyone planning to bet lacrosse for the first time. Betting lines will also be part of the NBC broadcast, along with various forms of DraftKings signage.
“In partnering with the Premier Lacrosse League, we are able to expand in our sports offerings and introduce our customers to a new and exciting way to engage with our platform,” said Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ chief business officer, in a statement.
“The [PLL] and DraftKings share a mutual appreciation for innovation and fan engagement. Together we will continue to bring our customers closer to the games they love and the content they crave.”
Paul Rabil, PLL co-founder and chief marketing officer, acknowledged the partnership “allows us to strategically service our fanbase and broaden our reach ahead of the Championship Series.”
Rabil said lacrosse fans “have been hungry to bet on games and that desire’s now a reality.” That reality will include cardboard cutouts of fans in stadium seats, similar to recent international soccer matches.
Kucharz also pointed to DraftKings’ view of lacrosse growth. He told CNBC it is “one of these sports that has really started to take hold of both coasts, and you’re seeing it grow as a sport everywhere.”
New sports, leagues drive sportsbooks during pandemic
The DraftKings/PLL partnership continues a recent trend.
Sportsbooks like DraftKings have relied on atypical sports and leagues to maintain betting interest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online bookmakers have even promoted the return of certain American sports, specifically golf and Major League Soccer betting, with a zeal likely absent during a typical sports summer.
In addition to lacrosse, DraftKings has sponsored events like the All-American Team Cup and World Team Tennis. The tennis events have attracted heavy media attention and featured stars like John Isner and Venus Williams.
That adds to the sportsbook’s recent exposure in mainstream leagues like the NFL, MLB, and NBA.
Similarly, DraftKings has joined other sports betting apps in broadcasting live Korean baseball games, German soccer matches, and Russian table tennis.
That creativity, along with DraftKings’ continued growth, has helped make the online sportsbook one of the hottest stock plays of 2020. It’s a surprising and impressive feat during one of the most challenging years ever for professional sports.