In September, the Chicago Cubs announced iconic Wrigley Field would receive sports betting upgrades. As part of its new partnership with DraftKings sportsbooks, the Cubs detailed their plans for a DraftKings retail sportsbook at one of the league’s most historic venues. It was the first announcement from an MLB team that a sportsbook would open inside its stadium.
“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,” said Matt Kalish, DraftKings North America co-founder and President, in a news release. “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 sportsbook will feature betting windows and self-serve kiosks for bettors to place their wagers. Originally, the new sportsbook was set to be completed by the end of 2022, but it remains unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the construction process.
The team is required to receive development approval from the city of Chicago, while DraftKings, as the team’s designated sports operator, is required to apply for a master sports wagering license with the Illinois Gaming Board.
“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, Cubs President of Business Operations, in a news release. “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.”
Since the initial announcement, little has been released regarding the status of the sportsbook at Wrigley Field. When asked, DraftKings did not have an update on the construction process, but because of internet rumors, we have some idea of what it might look like.
Renderings of the proposed Wrigley Field sportsbook have been shared on Twitter. Those show the sportsbook on the exterior of right field on the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue. Inside photos show a wall of TVs behind a lengthy bar, with chairs and tables spread out across the two-level sportsbook.
That's a wall of TVs. pic.twitter.com/7EoT2DhEke— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) January 13, 2021
It’s important to remember the photos on Twitter are not official and have not been endorsed by DraftKings or the team. Changes could come to the sportsbook’s location and layout. Still, it’s interesting to see what a proposed sportsbook could look like at Wrigley Field.
Washington scheduled to go live first
In January, the Washington Nationals became the second team to announce plans to put a retail sportsbook inside their stadium. The team announced its BetMGM partnership and plans to debut a BetMGM branded sportsbook inside Nationals Park this summer, which would make it the first retail sportsbook to open at an MLB stadium.
The Nationals plan on the sportsbook to remain open year-round and will include betting windows, betting kiosks and will offer food and drink.
Other Chicago Sports Partnerships
In addition to the Cubs, the Bears and Bulls have announced their own sports betting partnerships in the past year.
The Bears entered into their first sports betting deal with PointsBet sportsbook. The deal was announced just weeks after the Cubs/DraftKings partnership but did not include plans for a sportsbook at Soldier Field. With the partnership, PointsBet has full access to the Bears IP, marks and logos, in addition to sponsorship opportunities and brand visibility across numerous digital assets.
"As we break into the sports betting category for the first time, we couldn't be more excited to welcome PointsBet to the Bears family as a Proud Partner," said Chicago Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips in a statement. "This deal will bring fans a new way to interact with and cheer on the club."
In March, the Bulls announced a partnership with Betway. The global gaming brand announced team deals with five NBA franchises and a partnership with the NHL’s New York Islanders.
“It’s a very exciting time for the Betway brand as we enter the USA through our licensee partner DGC,” Anthony Werkman, Betway CEO, said in a statement. “We are delighted to have secured initial deals with six prestigious US sports teams. The deals are an extension of our existing focus to promote the Betway brand in high-profile sports shown around the world.”