DraftKings Stealing The Hearts Of Cubs, Bulls Fans With New Partnerships

DraftKings Illinois is already making a splash with Chicago sports fans.

DraftKings has announced an agreement with the Chicago Cubs to open an on-site sportsbook at the famed Wrigley Field. For Bulls fans, the sportsbook operator announced a partnership with famed Chicago Bull Michael Jordan. What does this mean for Chicago bettors?

DraftKings Partnership With Cubs At Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs and DraftKings jointly announced a multi-year deal for DraftKings to become the official sports betting and daily fantasy partner of the Cubs. Pending approval from the City of Chicago, the on-site sportsbook at Wrigley Field would be a first of its kind at a major professional sports stadium. 

The new sportsbook will include betting windows and self-serve kiosks at Wrigley. Online access around the Wrigleyville neighborhood will also be developed. When complete, Wrigley Field could be the biggest individual sportsbook in America.

When Will The DraftKings Wrigley Field Sportsbook Launch?

To make this a reality, the Cubs and DraftKings will need approval from the City of Chicago and the Illinois Gaming Board, which regulates all gambling in the state. While retail and online sports betting is legal in Illinois, every retail sportsbook needs approval from the state government before launch. It will take some time to comply with local, city regulations before the build-out at Wrigley is complete.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that bettors could expect the retail sportsbook to be operational by the end of 2022. Over the years the Cubs have tried to make improvements to Wrigley, but they haven’t had the best of luck getting timely approval. It’s also unclear where within Wrigley the sportsbook will be slotted. 

In the meantime, Chicago bettors can access the DraftKings online sportsbook app to place bets on the Cubs and all national sports.

DraftKings Illinois At Casino Queen

As for DraftKings, they’re already in operation in Illinois in a partnership with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, which has rebranded as DraftKings at Casino Queen. Although Illinois previously required an in-person registration to start betting there, that requirement is currently suspended. That means you can now register and bet on sports from anywhere within the state’s limits.

The partnership at Wrigley could be an attempt to offset the distance between Chicago and East St. Louis. Although this shouldn’t affect online betting in the long-term, having prime real estate at a legendary ballpark can’t hurt DraftKings’ marketing to Chicago bettors.

What This Means For Chicago Bettors

With at least 18 months before the sportsbook is ready, how the experience will work for bettors is still being worked out. This hasn’t stopped DraftKings co-founder and president Matt Kalish from sharing how Cubs fans will use the new sportsbook.

Kalish told EPSN, “It might be the Cubs to win, maybe a few props like first home run, then stroll into the game at 6:45, sit down, sweat my bets and cheer on the Cubs. Then, after the game, I can stop back at the DraftKings book, relax with my friends, get some food and drink and think about the next day’s game, maybe put in a few more tickets.”

Most importantly, the sportsbook will provide Illinois bettors and sports fans with a brand new experience.

In a press release announcing the new partnership, Crane Kenney, President of Business Operations, Chicago Cubs said, “an increasing number of sports fans want to integrate sports betting into their game experience, and we’re excited to be one of the first to engage in developing a retail sportsbook at a professional sports venue.”

Whether fans will be able to place bets on other teams or sports from the sportsbook hasn’t been revealed. It’s also unclear whether live, in-game betting will be permitted when the Cubs are home. 

Michael Jordan’s Agreement With DraftKings

The Cubs-DraftKings announcement isn’t the only Chicago betting news this week.

It’s impossible to talk about Chicago sports without mentioning Michael Jordan. To many, the Hall of Famer and six-time NBA Champion is Chicago sports. The announcement that MJ is joining the board of directors of DraftKings as a special advisor is nearly as big as when he famously announced, “I’m back!” In exchange for an equity position in DraftKings, Jordan will provide strategic advice and guidance to the online sports betting giant. 

The owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan has been an avid gambler, especially during his NBA career. In the ESPN documentary series “The Last Dance,” His Airness said, “I only bet on myself, and that was golf.”

How Jordan’s experience with gambling will be utilized by DraftKings will be worth watching. The five-time league MVP is notorious for coming up with creative bets for this teammates. Jordan once bet $100 that his luggage would come off the baggage claim first. Little did his teammate know, Jordan paid the baggage handlers to put his on first. This creativity will certainly come in handy as he advises on new DraftKings products. 

DraftKings Front And Center In Illinois

The agreements both with Jordan and the Cubs couldn’t come at a better time for DraftKings. By aligning themselves with two Illinois sporting icons, DraftKings has set themselves up nicely in the Land of Lincoln to take advantage of the recent passage of legal online sports betting

At least for the next few weeks, in-person registration requirements have been lifted for all online sportsbooks in the state. Although BetRivers was first to launch in Illinois, these DraftKings announcements are keeping the sportsbook front and center in Illinois. It seems DraftKings is attempting to win over the hearts of Chicago bettors.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is Managing Editor of Midwest Sports Fans. A recovering attorney, she's spent almost a decade developing and managing websites and writing for a variety of industries. Amber became a Cubs fan after living a handful of blocks from Wrigley Field, much to the chagrin of her Mets-loving family and Red Sox-loving husband. Amber writes for a number of online sites including the food and lifestyle site Food And Drink Destinations.