At almost the exact same time as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into a law a bill that legalized sports wagering, the Phoenix Suns were publicly announcing how the team will be taking advantage of the new legislation and making it available to its fans.
The Suns announcement included a partnership with a third-party sportsbook operator and plans to construct a sportsbook inside the team’s downtown Phoenix arena.
The team wasn’t scrambling to make these deals and plans in the 60 or so hours between the time the bill was approved in the Legislature and when Ducey signed it. But rather, the front office has been preparing behind the scenes for years to jump in and take advantage of legal sports wagering.
“We always had a placeholder for this. Once the Supreme Court ruling came out in 2018 relating to gambling regulation it was clear at some point this could be a possibility,” said Jason Rowley, the president and CEO of the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns have signed an exclusive agreement with New York-based FanDuel Group, which offers sportsbook and daily fantasy sports products. Under the deal, the Suns won’t do any sports wagering or daily fantasy with any other operator and FanDuel will only work with the Suns in Arizona.
Rowley said the Suns and FanDuel actually came to this agreement nearly nine months ago.
“We had a couple of their signs up, but for obvious reasons didn’t make a big-deal splash about it,” Rowley said. “Because at the end of the day, if the legislation didn’t pass, the real meat of the partnership would have never come to fruition.”