Just days after North Carolina regulators approved the first parts of the state’s online sports betting rules, the Charlotte Hornets and sportsbook bet365 signed a multi-year deal that makes bet365 an official partner of the Hornets.
The partnership between the professional sports franchise and sports betting operator is the first of its kind in North Carolina. Bet365 still needs to be licensed as a sports betting operator by the state.
bet365 branding already live at Spectrum Center
Like many partnerships between sports betting operators and professional sports teams, the Hornets-bet365 deal includes bet365 branding in the Hornets’ home arena, Spectrum Center.
Those watching the NBA’s in-season tournament will see bet365’s logo on the baseline aprons at Spectrum Center. More branding will be rolled out over the next few months, the Hornets said in a press release.
“Everyone at bet365 is thrilled to partner with the Hornets, as we launch our iconic sports betting brand in North Carolina,” a bet365 spokesperson said in an NBA press release. “The Hornets’ rich and dynamic history is deep rooted in the Queen City community, and we’re abuzz to become part of their exciting future.”
More NC sports betting partnerships should be on the way
It’s typical for a string of sports betting partnerships to pop up after a state legalizes sports betting.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed North Carolina sports wagering into law this past June, setting a one-year deadline for its launch. Then, this past week, regulators approved the first set of sports betting rules.
Whether coincidence or cause, the approved rules were followed by the Hornets’ partnership with bet365. Hornets Sports 7 Entertainment CRO Jacob Gallagher said:
“Since the day Governor Cooper signed sports wagering into law at Spectrum Center in June, we sought a partner that would help us provide our fans with new, additional opportunities to engage with their favorite sports teams. We are confident that bet365 is a great fit with our organization and can help us do that.”
Looking ahead to the next few months, it’s likely we’ll see a series of similar announcements, as the only way for sports betting operators to offer gambling in North Carolina is to work with the state’s pro sports franchises. Those teams include:
- Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)
- Carolina Panthers (NFL)
- Charlotte FC (MLS)
- NC Courage (NWSL)
North Carolina regulators had originally hoped to launch sports betting on Jan. 8, 2024. However, this past week they announced that the state would not hit its Jan. 8 goal. Regulators have until June 15, 2024, to launch.