WNBA Teams Up with FanDuel, Becomes First Women’s League in DFS Market

Posted on: May 13, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: May 13, 2017, 06:46h.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has made the leap into the daily fantasy sports market, in partnership with FanDuel.

WNBA strikes deal with FanDuel
The WNBA hopes that the deal with FanDuel, and a streaming agreement with Twitter announced last week, will bring women’s basketball to a wider audience. (Image: Ross D Franklin/Associated Press)

It will be first professional women’s sports league to do so, just as the NBA became the first major league to partner with DFS aback in 2014.

WNBA president Lisa Borders told ESPN she hoped that DFS’ ability to ramp up player engagement in sports would increase exposure for the women’s game.

“We are constantly looking to innovate by finding new opportunities to engage with our passionate fans and introduce the WNBA to wider audiences,” she said. “This partnership with FanDuel and our new one-day fantasy game will be a fresh, unique way for fans to further connect with their favorite WNBA players and teams throughout our season.”

Reaching New Fans

The announcement coincides with the beginning, this weekend, of the WNBA’s 21st season. FanDuel has said it will offer freeroll WNBA contests for prizes, as part of it’s side of the deal to promote the league, as well as regular games real-money games. Participants in the freerolls will be able to win tickets to games and merchandise.

“We’ve seen fantasy sports as one of the most engaging ways for fans to interact with the game,” said WNBA chief operating officer Jay Parry. “It’s in line with our growth strategy. We see this as a way to engage with new fans. … We’re happy that FanDuel recognized the potential and growing interest in women’s sport.”

FanDuel spokeswoman Justine Sacco said her company was delighted to have another option for players over the summer, a time when the sports schedule is lighter.

FanDuel players are “highly engaged,” she said, and are eager for more opportunities to play fantasy contests, which meant bringing the WNBA on board was a “no-brainer.”

Twitter Streaming Deal

DraftKings, FanDuel’s former rival, with whom it is currently negotiating a merger, told the Associated Press via email that it was considering adding WNBA games this summer.

The DraftKings agreement comes just a week after the WNBA announced a deal with Twitter that will see it become the first women’s league to live-stream its games via the social media platform, as it seeks to reach out to a wider, global audience.

The league will stream 20 games per season for the next few years, beginning with the Dallas Wings against the Phoenix Mercury on May 14.