Major League Baseball and the NBA are in discussions to divest their equity stakes in daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel, according to a report at ESPN.
The report came in a tweet from ESPN’s Darren Rovell reading “Sources: MLB, NBA have begun discussions with DraftKings & FanDuel to exit their equity positions; both leagues will remain partners with their respective companies.”
The report was followed by press statements by FanDuel and the NBA.
“FanDuel and the NBA will remain close commercial partners now and in the future,” a FanDuel spokesperson told Legal Sports Report.
NBA Spokesman Mike Bass added: “This space is evolving and we saw the need to take a fresh look at the structure of our relationship. FanDuel has been, and will remain, a great partner. We have simply modified some of the components of our partnership,” the website reported.
As for DraftKings, it issued a statement concerning MLB’s investment in the company.
“Major League Baseball was the first professional league to invest in DraftKings and their partnership over the last five years has been instrumental to our growth and success,” the press statement said. “Our ties to MLB are as strong as they have ever been. As two organizations that place fans at the core of their business, DraftKings and Major League Baseball will be working closely together going forward so baseball fans around the world continue to have the most engaging experience possible with the sport they love.”
The NBA took an equity position in FanDuel in 2014 and the DFS company integrated NBA League Pass into its platform and also developed a free fantasy app called InPlay for the league.
MLB has reportedly held equity in DraftKings dating back to 2013. DraftKings became the official daily fantasy partner of MLB in 2015. DraftKings has team-level deals in place with almost every Major League franchise, as well, according to Legal Sports Report.
It’s worth noting that the report comes out as MLB and the NBA have begun lobbying for sports betting legislation that benefits the league should a federal ban on sports betting be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently deliberating a challenge to the ban brought by the State of New Jersey.
In a related story. Formula One racing has announced it is partnering—and taking an equity position—with international DFS operator PlayOn. The deal means DFS players will soon be able to live stream Grand Prix races within the platform.
PlayOn also announced it hopes to enter the U.S. market in 2018 and will open a U.S. office in the coming months.