For the first time, the National Hockey League is allowing a sportsbook to stream live regular-season games.
FanDuel Sportsbook announced Monday that it will offer livestreaming of NHL games within its mobile wagering app, as part of a new partnership with streaming and data firm IMG Arena.
It will feature up to two livestreams each day through the end of the regular season. The games will be available only to "customers who have a funded sportsbook account or placed a wager on the event."
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN that a deal like this was a natural progression of the league's partnerships in the sports wagering space.
"Once we made the jump to allowing our brand to be associated with sports betting companies, this was not a far leap. We're supplying footage, we're supplying feeds of our games," he said.
Which games will be streamed? FanDuel betting sites are available in four states at the moment: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia. But the most popular teams in those regions will not end up in games on the app, as FanDuel has to adhere to local and national broadcast blackout restrictions. The games will feature out-of-market teams.
The FanDuel deal came together after IMG Arena recently secured the rights to provide legal U.S. sports betting operators with livestreams of select out-of-market games. That firm has been combining live games with live wagering in Europe for some time, mainly for soccer and tennis.
Tennis was FanDuel's first foray into this space, having streamed the Australian Open for the past two years while offering in-match wagering.
"As we continue to innovate and expand nationwide, the ability to further enhance the live game and live betting experience is increasingly important to our customers," said Niall Connell, general manager and senior vice president, FanDuel Group. "Our goal is to become a one-stop shop for all sports and betting content, and livestreaming professional sports like hockey is one of the many ways we are reaching that goal."
Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May 2018 to allow states to legalize, regulate and tax sports wagering, the NHL has secured deals with a handful of sportsbook partners. The league has agreements with MGM, William Hill and FanDuel.
The NHL's deal with MGM will include access to puck and player tracking data once the league gets that system up and running, which could lead to a variety of different types of in-game wagers.
Is having that kind of in-game wagering paired with livestreaming of games on a gambling app the eventual endgame for this "leap" taken with FanDuel? Daly said that would require a bit more dealmaking.
"I don't think this specific deal would pertain to [player and puck tracking]. The player and puck tracking data is subject to a different agreement. We have baked that into our MGM agreement, but we haven't baked it into any other agreement," he said. "To the extent any of our partners in the sports wanted player and puck tracking, we'd have to make separate deals."