Fantasy Sports Site to Announce First Pro Sponsorship Deal

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Fantasy Sports Site to Announce First Pro Sponsorship Deal

Daily fantasy website Major League Fantasy (, which went into business just last month, will soon announce a partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League, sources told Gambling 911.

The arrangement will involve Major League Fantasy becoming an official sponsor of the NHL team, with MLF advertising appearing at Lightning games and in Lightning media, the sources said.

Jesse Merl, owner of Silicon Valley-based MLF, was contacted by Gambling 911 and refused to confirm or deny an impending deal with the Lightning.

"I can't comment on any ongoing negotiations with any teams or individual athletes," Merl said. "All I can say at this time is that the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida is a wonderful, beautiful, growing area of the country and Major League Fantasy would welcome the opportunity to do business in the region."

MLF is located in the ritzy San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek.

Sources also told Gambling 911 that MLF is in sponsorship negotiations with other, unnamed professional sports teams, as well as specific professional athletes.

About that, Merl would only say: "We are in discussions with multiple teams, athletes and organizations. We will have major announcements over the next 60 days in every category. We may have deal finalized that we are strategically waiting to announce, but I won't confirm anything currently."

Forbes (, a business magazine, reported last month that MLF had inked a sponsorship deal with the Golden State Warriors of the NBA.

The next day, the magazine retracted the story, after officials from the Warriors denied any deal was in place.

Merl told Gambling 911 that MLF received permission from the NBA to talk to the Warriors about a sponsorship deal, but confirmed no deal was yet in place.

"As of today, we do not have a signed contract with any NBA team," Merl said. "However, we plan on that changing in the near future. The Warriors are the hottest team in the NBA and I say that as a fan of the team and organization."

In recent weeks, other fantasy sports firms have signed sponsorship deals with professional sports teams.

DraftKings ( announced deals with the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos of the NFL, while FanDuel ( announced deals with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks of the NBA.

DraftKings and FanDuel, however, are large successful companies that have been around for a while and do heavy TV advertising.

Major League Fantasy, on the other hand, is small and new and not yet on TV, so for such a novice to consummate a deal with a pro sports franchise would be a remarkable achievement.

By Tom Somach Staff Writer

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