FanDuel and PointsBet Partner with Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment in Crowded Ontario Partnership Market

The Ontario iGaming market launched on April 4, and several of the world’s most prominent sportsbook brands have quickly made their presence felt in the Canadian province. Two such operators in FanDuel and PointsBet have been busy in the partnership department as they have launched lucrative agreements with some of the most notable sports teams and brands in Ontario. As the market continues to evolve, FanDuel and PointsBet will hope those partnerships will give them a significant advantage over their competition.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Partnerships

On Friday, FanDuel announced it would be partnering with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. PointsBet announced a similar partnership with MLSE on Monday. These partnerships will give the sportsbooks the opportunity to integrate their content with multiple major league sports teams in Ontario including the following:

  • Toronto FC – Major League Soccer (MLS)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs – National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Toronto Raptors – National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • Toronto Argonauts – Canadian Football League (CFL)

On Friday, FanDuel Canada General Manager Dale Hooper noted in a release that the “Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Toronto FC are pioneering franchises and major pillars in Canadian sports culture.” Hooper stated the partnership has the opportunity to allow FanDuel to “bring unique content experiences to some of Canada’s most dedicated sports fans.”

In addition to FanDuel, parent company Flutter Entertainment will also be including PokerStars, its other primary brand, in the partnership with MLSE. PokerStars is now an official gaming partner of MLSE which allows for more sponsorship activations between the two companies.

PointsBet Chief Executive Officer Scott Vanderwel called the partnership a “historic deal for PointsBet Canada” as the sportsbook has the rare “opportunity to partner with an organization that spans across all four professional leagues.” Vanderwel said PointsBet is “thrilled” to be partnering with MLSE.

FanDuel’s Other Partnerships

FanDuel has been especially busy in the new Ontario market with new partnerships. On Thursday, I wrote about FanDuel and BetMGM extending their U.S. partnerships with the NHL to include Canadian properties. The partnership with MLSE will only afford FanDuel more opportunities for branding through professional hockey.

FanDuel also agreed to a new alliance with The Sports Network, one of the most popular sports broadcast channels in Ontario. FanDuel will become the exclusive sports betting odds provider for TSN’s content across several channels including broadcast programming, websites, radio, and mobile applications.

Competitive Ontario Market

As more operators are added to the Ontario market, partnerships like the MLSE deal with FanDuel and PointsBet are expected to become more pervasive. On Thursday, theScore Bet agreed to a ten-year partnership with the Toronto Blue Jays. Also on Thursday, Coolbet announced a multi-year partnership with “Canada’s Fastest Man” Andre De Grasse.

As of Monday morning, 13 different online sportsbooks had launched in Ontario in addition to the pre-existing Proline+ from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Unlike in some states where sports betting has launched, the OLG had the opportunity to have Proline+ as the only legal platform for an extended period prior to the province’s full launch of its iGaming market.

With the built-in OLG competition in a wide-open market, operators have to get creative to gain market share. A Deloitte Canada survey showed just 9.4% of survey respondents would choose a sportsbook based on endorsements from current or former athletes, but the sportsbooks will still chase the brand recognition from sponsorships as they attempt to stand out in a highly crowded market.