NFL Players Get Ownership in DFS Deal with Monkey Knife Fight

NFL Players Get Ownership in DFS Deal with Monkey Knife Fight
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The NFL Players Association has reached a multiyear partnership agreement with upstart daily fantasy sports provider Monkey Knife Fight and OneTeam Partners that will include licensing, joint marketing and player involvement.

The union will have an equity stake in Monkey Knife Fight, which is the official licensee of the NFLPA in daily fantasy sports and is the third-largest daily fantasy sports gaming platform in North America, according to a news release.

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“With this deal we have taken another large step to solidifying the role of players being collectively involved in businesses that partner with their sport," DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA executive director and board member of OneTeam Partners, said in the news release. “Monkey Knife Fight is an innovative daily fantasy provider that already has partnerships with some NFL teams and we are thrilled with the opportunity to build onto that platform for fans across sports."

Monkey Knife Fight has established partnerships with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and teams in other major sports.

“Monkey Knife Fight has always distinguished itself from other gaming platforms by letting fans play contests that are focused on their favorite athletes,” Bill Asher, founder and CEO of Monkey Knife Fight, said in the release. “Our relationship with the NFLPA will allow us to connect fans to players on a whole new level. We are looking forward to this landmark partnership.”

OneTeam Partners

NFLPA helped launch OneTeam Partners in 2019, intending to leverage marketing and promotional opportunities associated with players' names and likeness.

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Along with the NFLPA, OneTeam is a joint venture between the MLBPA and RedBird Capital Partners. The group represents commercial interests of both unions, plus the players associations for the MLS, U.S. women’s national soccer team and the WNBA, the release said.

“This is the perfect timing for this partnership. Professional athletes have historically been underleveraged by DFS companies despite athletes being the predicate for these games' existence,” Ahmad Nassar, CEO of OneTeam Partners, said in the release. “In Monkey Knife Fight, we've found a partner that is unique in what it offers to fans and also understands the immense influence and value that athletes can deliver, especially as a challenger brand competing with industry incumbents."

Players Excited About Opportunity

NFL players now have a stake in a growing business.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said players have been looking for this type of opportunity.

”Daily fantasy sports, in particular, is a booming new business, and we're excited to lock arms with one of the fastest growing fantasy sports companies in the country right now," he said.

Fellow quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings concurred.

"We're thrilled to enter a partnership in an industry that exists and is based on what we do on the field. We're looking forward to bringing an authentic player element to the fan experience,” Cousins said.

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