The NFL, the last and largest US sports league holding out against sports betting, has turned a page. On Thursday, it announced a multi-year deal with Ceasars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel that will see those three companies become official betting partners of the league. That means they'll be able to do things like advertise their relationship with the NFL and access data directly from its stat counters. The NFL didn't disclose the terms of the agreement, but according to ESPN it will be worth just shy of $1 billion if it goes a full five years. The NFL has the option to leave the deal in years three and four.
"As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL's vision and goals," the league said in a statement. "Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love."
All told, this is a significant change for the NFL, which has historically fought hard to prevent states like New Jersey from passing gambling laws, arguing along the way that they would pose a threat to the game's integrity. However, the league ultimately lost that legal battle when the Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that a federal law barring sports gambling in most states was unconstitutional. Since then, more than half of US states have passed sports betting legislation, with even more looking to do so in the future.