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NFL to partner with bookmakers Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel

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For the first time, the NFL is partnering with bookmakers in the U.S., another big step in the league’s acceptance of sports betting.

The NFL on Thursday announced multi-year agreements with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel, making the sportsbook operators the first Official Sports Betting Partners of the NFL.

The partnerships are for five years and, according to a source familiar with the deals, and combined are worth just shy of $1 billion. The source said the revenue structure of the deals were not tied to the outcome of bets on league games and was comparable to traditional sponsorship partnerships. The NFL has exit options at the end of the third and fourth years, the source said.

As part of the deals, the three bookmaking companies receive the right to integrate sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties, including NFL.com and the NFL app. Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel also will each use the NFL’s official data feed.

Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel also will collaborate with the NFL on intelligence sharing, advocacy efforts and responsible gaming education.

It’s a big change for the NFL, which for decades adamantly opposed sports betting over fears that it would damage the league’s integrity. The NFL, along with the NCAA, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, fought New Jersey’s efforts to authorize sports betting for six years, before ultimately losing a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. Three years later after the ruling, more than half the states in the U.S. have passed sports betting legislation.

“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” Renie Anderson, NFL chief revenue officer and executive vice president of NFL partnerships, said in a release announcing the deals. “Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love.”

While other major professional leagues moved quickly to partners with sportsbooks in the U.S., the NFL held off and watched as the sports betting market evolved. Anderson said used what it learned from its involvement in the daily fantasy industry to shape its timing and decision on entering the sports betting industry in the U.S.

“We know it’s going to continue to evolve and change, so as we continue to learn how this really amplifies that engagement, which is really the core, key priority why we’re in this business, engaging the most rabid fan base on the planet,” Anderson told ESPN. “We’re excited about that and think through data and a variety of other areas we’re going to learn a lot and continue to evolve the space and grow that key point of engagement for our fans.”

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Chris Long poses as airline on Twitter to troll Texans RB Mark Ingram

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If you’ve ever stood at the baggage claim in an airport, then you know that few things can compare to the instant relief that’s felt once your luggage appears. Maybe it’s comparable to seeing a waiter expertly navigate the restaurant floor while bringing the food to your table.

Apparently Houston Texans running back Mark Ingram II didn’t receive that satisfaction on a trip Thursday as he took to Twitter to complain about his checked luggage that seemingly was lost.

Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long took advantage of the opportunity to make light of Ingram’s travel troubles by changing his account name and profile picture to mimic the airline’s account and offered this advice:

Problem solved? Probably not.



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Tennessee giving $1.2M to Tim Tebow’s foundation to help fight human trafficking

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tim Tebow joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee at the state Capitol on Thursday to announce a multimillion-dollar partnership to fight human trafficking.

Tebow’s foundation is due for an infusion of $1.2 million in the upcoming Tennessee state budget. The annual spending plan, which tops $42 billion, is sending more than $5 million combined to Tebow’s organization and other groups to combat human trafficking.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback with the Florida Gators is expected to sign a one-year contract to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, a source confirmed to ESPN on Monday.

“I would say that today, that’s not the focus,” Tebow said of the speculation concerning his signing with the Jaguars. “Today is about every life that’s being trafficked in the state of Tennessee, around the country and around the world.”

The funding will help a ministry within the Tim Tebow Foundation, named Her Song, which seeks to build safe homes in the state alongside other funded organizations, Tebow said.

The rest of the funding goes to other groups that help survivors of human trafficking in the state.

“We hope that this will facilitate and engage and inspire churches, nonprofits, organizations, individuals, to find out how they can be involved in rescuing women and children in Tennessee,” Lee said.

Tebow said the discussions on the issue began less than three months ago when country music star Luke Bryan and his wife, Caroline, introduced him to the governor’s chief of staff, Blake Harris, at Bryan’s restaurant.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Kansas City Chiefs acquire CB Mike Hughes from Minnesota Vikings, source says

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The Kansas City Chiefs have acquired cornerback Mike Hughes in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Chiefs traded a 2022 sixth-round pick to Minnesota while the Vikings are sending a 2022 seventh-round pick to Kansas City in the deal, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

Hughes was drafted by the Vikings in the first round (30th overall) of the 2018 NFL draft. The Vikings declined to exercise the fifth-year contract in Hughes’ rookie contract, meaning he will be a free agent after this season.

He was limited to just four games last season because of a neck injury that resulted in him being placed on injured reserve in October.

He has appeared in 24 games in his three seasons, making seven starts. He has two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown in his rookie season, 13 passes defended and 80 tackles.

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