The New York Jets and 888 Holdings have become one of the latest to ink a sponsorship deal between a major league sports team and a casino company. 888 Holdings is the parent company to New Jersey online casino 888 and online sportsbook 888 Sport.
According to the New York Post, several large, bright orange 888 banners are already hanging outside MetLife Stadium. The stadium is home to both the Jets and the NY Giants and is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Coincidentally, the Meadowlands Sports Complex is also home to the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands. FanDuel and the Jets have a daily fantasy sports relationship. Needless to say, knowing the players, the partnership with 888 came as a bit of surprise.
Details of the deal remain scarce. It appears, however, that promotion of 888’s NJ online sportsbook is not part of the agreement. Instead, the banners say “888.com,” the company’s NJ online casino.
Expect an official announcement of the deal later this week that will hopefully contain more details.
The NFL and its relationship with legal sports betting
Before the season started, the NFL relaxed its position on advertising with gaming companies. It now allows teams to form marketing partnerships with casinos.
The NFL’s pivot does not, however, look as kindly on advertising agreements with sportsbooks. Sports betting companies are still in the dog house.
The reporting says sources believe the agreement with 888 doesn’t violate league policy because it doesn’t promote 888 Sport.
It appears that not everyone agrees with that sentiment. “To me, this crosses the line,” said a source with knowledge of the deal.
Unlike the NHL and NBA, who are more open to promoting a “sports betting experience,” the NFL seems adamant on watching from the sidelines.
Recently, the NFL went before Congress in support of federal sports betting regulations and have been lobbying hard in favor of “integrity fees.”
Maybe its the optics of lobbying for federal regulations while accepting sponsorships from sportsbooks that is keeping the NFL and its teams from pursuing additional revenue opportunities.
Plenty of sponsorship opportunities remain
Earlier this year, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released the results of sports betting impact study it commissioned.
It shows each of the major sports leagues reaping the rewards of increased fan engagement and other gaming related revenue because of legal sports betting.
Specifically, it says each league may see a significant revenue impact:
- $2.3 billion for the NFL
- $1.1 billion for MLB
- $585 million for the NBA
- $216 million for the NHL
Included in other gaming-related revenue are sponsorship and partnership agreements.
After the successful launch of sports betting in several states, sports betting fever is spreading. Since the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional, the following states have implemented legal sports betting:
There is no doubt that more partnerships are coming. Time will tell if the NFL is willing to embrace the new normal or if it is going to die on its proverbial sword.