NFL Players Association acquires stake in US fantasy sports operator

3rd November 2020 10:18 am GMT

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has acquired a stake in US fantasy sports operator Monkey Knife Fight (MKF).

The acquisition forms part of an exclusive long-term partnership between MKF and the NFLPA, the union for professional football players in the NFL, and OneTeam Partners, which helps athletes maximize the value of their name, image and rights.

The multi-year deal includes a long-term licensing agreement, joint marketing commitment and significant player involvement in a broad assortment of MKF's activities, with MKF serving as the official licensee of the NFLPA for daily fantasy sports.

“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,” said NFLPA executive director and OneTeam board member DeMaurice Smith. “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 founder and CEO Bill Asher said: "Monkey Knife Fight has always distinguished itself from other gaming platforms by letting fans play contests that are focused on their favorite athletes.

“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 CEO Ahmad Nassar commented: “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.

“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.”

All-Pro quarterback Deshaun Watson said that players had grown up with fantasy sports and have been looking for an opportunity like this.

“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.

Two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Kirk Cousins added: “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, and we're excited about the unique things we've got planned to bring even more awareness to Monkey Knife Fight.”