Cubs, DraftKings eye Wrigley Field sportsbook in exclusive betting deal

A general view of the marquee at Wrigley Field before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals on September 17, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Wrigley Field could soon be home to a live sports gambling venue as part of an exclusive partnership between the Chicago Cubs and leading fantasy and betting operator DraftKings, officials said on Thursday.

The multi-year deal establishes DraftKings as the official sports betting and daily fantasy sports partner for the Cubs franchise. In addition, DraftKings will pursue plans to build a branded “first of its kind” sportsbook on site at Wrigley Field, allowing fans to place bets on the action at a brick-and-mortar location or through a mobile app in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.

“DraftKings has been a great partner for a number of years and we are excited to expand this relationship as sports betting grows rapidly in Illinois,” said Crane Kenney, the Cubs’ president of business operations. “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.”

Sports betting has been legal in the state of Illinois since 2019 and online wagering went live earlier this summer. However, the plan to build a physical sportsbook at Wrigley Field would require approval from city officials.

DraftKings has emerged as one of the country’s top mobile sports betting operators since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban in 2018. The company operates physical sportsbooks in seven states, including Illinois.

“This is truly a historic moment, as we are thrilled to align with the renowned Chicago Cubs franchise and iconic Wrigley Field to provide sports bettors in Chicago with a revolutionary sports betting experience,” DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish said. “As two organizations that share a mutual passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence, we look forward to working in collaboration with the Cubs, an organization steeped in tradition, and making our presence felt in and around Wrigleyville.”

The deal marks another milestone for DraftKings, which went public in April despite a weeks-long lull in professional sports during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, the company announced that NBA legend Michael Jordan would receive an equity stake and serve as a special adviser.