DraftKings announced Thursday that it is looking to open a sports bar that will bear its branding in a yet-to-be-determined location in Nashville.
The plan comes under a “strategic new relationship” with a brand called Sports & Social, which comes from Live! Dining & Entertainment, a division of The Cordish Companies. Cordish, based in Baltimore, owns Live!-branded casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Casinos are not allowed in Tennessee.
The plan needs approval from Tennessee sports betting regulators. In Tennessee, no retail wagering whatsoever is allowed under the 2019 Sports Gaming Act. That means that there can’t be betting kiosks at the Sports & Social/DraftKings sports bars. The locations also cannot provide visitors with devices for wagering. Computers, phones, and tablets must belong to the customer.
Promotions and other incentives could be implemented to facilitate DraftKings app activations.
According to the presser, the layout and design of the sports bars will come from a group called ICRAVE.
Retail still an important component
States that have both retail and online sports betting have seen the vast majority of bets come via the internet. Still, the experience of a venue with sports betting remains popular across the country.
“Today, so much of sports betting is focused on the mobile-technology aspect, however the in-person experience is an integral layer that we look forward to advancing alongside Sports & Social’s premier dining and entertainment offerings,” said Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ chief business officer. “By aligning with one of the fastest-growing entertainment concepts in the country, we now have the opportunity to bring our world-class products to life by offering engaging, interactive and fan-first destinations.”
In addition to Nashville, DraftKings has plans for at least one more of the branded venues in Detroit. Tennessee kicked off legal online sports betting last November, with Michigan following in January. The Wolverine State allows online casino gambling, which DraftKings also offers. Tennessee doesn’t allow any other online gambling besides sports wagering.
The plan is to add the sports bars in other states after opening in Nashville and Detroit.
BetMGM, a main rival of DraftKings, has a similar sports bar deal with Buffalo Wild Wings.
Reed Cordish, principal at Cordish, said that his group is excited to deliver an “incredible premier sports-watching experience with sports betting all under one roof” under its DraftKings deal.
DraftKings could use a boost in Tennessee especially, as it is has recently trailed BetMGM and FanDuel, its other main rival, in handle in the state. DraftKings has been ahead of BetMGM in Michigan.
BetMGM had 38.6% June handle share in Tennessee, while FanDuel had 33.4% and DraftKings had 23.3%.
DraftKings shares ($DKNG) were up about 1% in the morning on Thursday to about $51 following the news, slightly better than the market overall. DraftKings’ share price is up more than 13% year-to-date.