National sports betting powers PointsBet, DraftKings, and Caesars have marketing partnerships with athletic programs at American universities.
Don’t expect FanDuel to matriculate any time soon, though.
This, according to FanDuel chief executive officer Amy Howe, who told the Wall Street Journal last week:
“We don’t want the FanDuel brand associated with college campuses.”
The sentiment was portrayed as an overall underscoring of social responsibility from the Paddy Power-owned gambling and daily fantasy sports company, as Howe also told the WSJ that FanDuel was also reassessing use of the term “risk-free” bets in promotional advertising.
“I certainly feel a huge sense of obligation,” Howe told the WSJ.
Industry analyst John Pappas commended Howe’s stance, telling PlayUSA:
“The U.S. sports wagering industry is in its adolescence. Even in these early years it has shown that it can be both highly entertaining and sensible. However, in order to grow up healthy and be sustainable, more focus must be paid to how sports betting is marketed. Ultimately, the future of the industry is in the hands of public and policymaker perceptions, and those perceptions can be shaped by the ads they see.
“I applaud FanDuel, and others in the industry, for taking a serious approach that reinforces responsible gaming with consumers and proactively works with regulators to ensure safeguards are in place to protect integrity and the long-term viability of the U.S. sports wagering industry.”
Sportsbook deals with athletic departments are becoming normalized
FanDuel would be staking new ground in avoiding marketing deals with college athletic programs.
They’ve come slowly but steadily since 2020, with prime adversary DraftKings reaching beyond playing fields. FanDuel comprises 37% of the national sports betting share according to data from the nine states that report handle by brand and a Catena Media extrapolation of New Jersey. DraftKings accounts for 27%, Caesars 11% and PointsBet 3%.
All in all, it’s been quite a wild ride:
- In September 2020, PointsBet became the first on-campus when it agreed to a five-year corporate sponsorship with the University of Colorado, near its American headquarters in Denver. The deal included support for the athletic department’s Scripps Leadership and Career Development Program.
- A month later, DraftKings became the primary sponsor of the Center for Gaming Innovation at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.
- In September 2021, SuperBook Sports signed a similar deal with the University of Denver that included branding, media hospitality, and social media usage rights.
- Also, in September of 2021, Caesars took the process to its logical evolution by becoming the official sportsbook of Lousiana State athletics. That deal became controversial when a Caesars promotional email blast landed in the inboxes of underage LSU students. The age to legally bet in Lousiana is 21.
- And in December of 2021, PointsBet added another college corporate client in the University of Maryland. As with the Colorado compact, the multi-year agreement grants PointsBet signage rights and includes responsible gambling components.