FedEx Field made history Friday — positively — by partnering with Fanatics to open the first legal sports betting operation inside an NFL stadium.
It’s the first retail sportsbook for Fanatics, the top sports merchandiser in the United States. Fanatics partners with most professional and college sports teams to handle merchandising, and their new sportsbook is located beside the Commanders’ remodeled team store at FedEx Field.
Sports betting is a lucrative and crowded field. The Commanders had previously partnered with FanDuel, but this new partnership with Fanatics could set them apart from the rest of the NFL.
The new sportsbook is 5,000 square feet with 21 self-service betting kiosks, eight betting windows and a full restaurant that will be open daily.
The first sportsbook in an NFL stadium is up and running. pic.twitter.com/x1etdVhagN
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 20, 2023
Team president Jason Wright was in attendance for the event and believes this is a positive for everyone in the DMV.
“It allows us to create a space for community, for people to connect,” Wright said, per Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I would argue, at a time coming out of the pandemic, and the way we’re so divisive, it’s a needed thing for people to have connections to one another they might not normally come across. So this is, in a way, a community space, in an area that still has a feel of true ecumenical connection and deep understanding of one another.”
The first sportsbook inside an NFL stadium 👀
— FedExField (@FedExField) January 20, 2023
Wright understands how fans feel about FedEx Field and how this doesn’t take the place of a new stadium.
“It’s a down payment on a revamped fan experience,” Wright said.
Ari Borod, Fanatics Betting and Gaming’s chief business officer, had the following to say about the new sportsbook at FedEx Field.
“You have companies that sell merchandise,” Borod said. “You have companies that offer sports betting. Here is a one-stop shop where you can do all those things. You can come in, you can place a bet, you can buy a jersey at the team store next door, which is also run by Fanatics, sit, watch a game, have a drink, order some food and hang out.”
Everyone often rips the Commanders for not adapting or not being creative enough, but this was an excellent move by Wright and his team to partner with Fanatics. FedEx Field needs all the help it can get.
Something to remember, it’s illegal to place bets inside an NFL stadium on gameday, so the sportsbook will convert into a sports bar and lounge area.