Sports bettors set to eagerly welcome latest food-and-drink trend

Jay Dieffenbach

The immersive sportsbook-and-dining experience continues to seek the sweet spot for customers, and DraftKings is set to raise the bar.

Teaming with Sports & Social, the popular online sportsbook operator announced plans for upscale sports bars beginning in the Nashville and Detroit markets.

The deal is pending regulatory approvals.

“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,” DraftKings chief business officer Ezra Kucharz said in a news release.

Sports & Social, loosely defined as an upscale gaming parlor and social lounge company, already has a presence at locations including:

  • The Battery adjacent to Truist Park in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Ballpark Village adjacent to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
  • Texas Live! in the Arlington Entertainment District.
  • Live! Casino Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh.
  • Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia in Philadelphia’s Stadium District.
  • Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland in the Baltimore/Washington Corridor.

The specific physical homes for the Nashville and Detroit venues of the Sports & Social and DraftKings partnership will be announced in the coming months, according to the companies.

The locations would come with "state-of-the-art audio and visual displays" designed by ICRAVE to focus on sports and entertainment, according to the release.

No doubt that many high-level marketing experts believe in this next wave of opportunity spawned by the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the federal ban on single-event sports wagering.

At today’s upscale sports-bar, customers can have his/her cake (bets) and eat, too.

“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 to skin-in-the-game customers,” Kucharz said.

Detroit location to feature physical sportsbook

While the Detroit location would employ a physical sportsbook atmosphere, the Nashville version won’t have kiosks and tellers because Tennessee's sports gambling laws allow the brick-and-mortar venues to do business only via online platforms.

Music City customers would be able to place wagers with their personal mobile devices, but the concept has not yet been approved by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, the state's sports gaming regulator.

DraftKings' fantasy sports product is available in seven countries, and its sports betting and gaming technologies are used by more than 50 operators in 17 countries.

According to the DraftKings-Sports & Social announcement:

DraftKings operates in 14 states with online and retail sportsbooks, with several additional new markets on the horizon. Whether betting on mobile devices or in person at one of the 10 retail locations across the United States, DraftKings offers customers comprehensive betting markets and options, including live wagers and player proposition wagers. Additionally, DraftKings has sponsorship deals with several professional sports teams and leagues which include experiential elements for its customers.

Sports & Social also brings made-from-scratch menu items, curated cocktails and exciting entertainment. Sports & Social is a concept by Live! Dining & Entertainment, a division of The Cordish Companies. A Live! proudly welcomes 55 million visitors a year to its award-winning dining, entertainment, music, casino, hotel and sports-anchored destinations and venues nationwide.

“DraftKings is an industry leader in sports betting and entertainment, and we are incredibly excited to work with them to bring this new experience to life,” said Reed Cordish, principal of The Cordish Companies via news release.

“We are always looking to create new and innovative experiences for our guests and this collaboration will allow us an exciting opportunity to do so, bringing an incredible premier sports-watching experience with sports betting all under one roof.”

Which sportsbook will be next to follow in footsteps of DraftKings and BetMGM?

BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings have had a similar arrangement that began in 2019 but stepped up in March when the companies’ partnership was announced.

The BetMGM app uses geolocation to reach restaurant customers to bring betting and promotional opportunities. And a gaming channel, OT Odds Powered by BetMGM, airs on select screens inside the locations.

The channel brings live in-game odds, fantasy sports, and advice for sports bettors.

“Fans wagering on sports inside Buffalo Wild Wings can now win bigger on select bets thanks to our innovative partnership with BetMGM,” Buffalo Wild Wings chief marketing officer Rita Patel said in a statement at the time of the agreement.

In states where mobile sports betting is legal, curated boosts, bets, and parlays — Blazin' Bets — within the BetMGM app are also available on customers’ phones and tablets.

Jessica Welman, a analyst, spoke about the trend’s momentum.

“Buffalo Wild Wings has always been a destination for sports fans to meet up, grab a drink, and watch the game,” she said in a story . “The company was forward thinking about this and actually signed the deal with MGM back in September 2019 (and) we are now just seeing the full nationwide rollout.”

Welman emphasized in March the expansion opportunities for future agreements.

For example, (at a recent) Ohio sports betting hearing, someone testified on behalf of state's bowling alleys hoping to get a license. With how much goes into the application and vetting process for sportsbook operators, I think those bowling alleys and other places like restaurants and bars are going to realize the best way for them to get a piece of the sports betting pie is partnerships like this.

As companies continue to find revenue while marrying sports bettors’ preferences, the all-inclusive gaming-venue trend will continue its upward march.

Jay Dieffenbach