Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon Is First Active MLB Player To Endorse A Sportsbook

Written By Brant James on April 20, 2022
Charlie Blackmon sports betting brand ambassador

Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon became the first active Major League Baseball player to sign an endorsement deal with a sportsbook when MaximBet announced his brand ambassadorship on Wednesday.

Blackmon, 35, is a four-time All-Star and the 2017 National League batting champion. According to a release, “Chuck Nazty” will “be featured by MaximBet in upcoming marketing campaigns, fan events, promotions and social media content.”

“As I learned more about MaximBet, I knew this absolutely was the right brand for me,” Blackmon said in a press release. “MaximBet has really attached itself to the local Colorado community, and I cannot wait to have some fun with MaximBet and surprising fans with incredible ‘money can’t buy’ experiences all season.”

MLB players gained the right to sign sportsbook endorsement deals in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended a 99-day lockout this spring. Going first could be rife with potential pitfalls considering baseball’s institutional trauma over the 1919 Chicago White Sox and Pete Rose gambling scandals.

But Jason Pomrenke of the Society for American Baseball Research thinks the proliferation of legal sports betting in the United States will assuage the public.

Charlie Blackmon MaximBet

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Why was MLB player Charlie Blackmon right for MaximBet, historic role?

Blackmon is a popular veteran with a history of high performance and the personality to fill a role in need of such. That he’s an outwardly devout Christian who speaks often about his religious beliefs didn’t make him an obvious candidate, however. Blackmon’s national appeal didn’t fit the mold many branding experts felt would be needed, but MaximBet’s focus in Colorado might make him and the sportsbook the perfect first movers. He’s the first-ever MaximBet spokesperson.

“Charlie is one of the most revered Rockies players of all time, and his style and career success makes him a perfect fit for MaximBet,” said MaximBet CEO Daniel Graetzer in a release. “We are thrilled to welcome Charlie to the MaximBet family. We look forward to him hitting it out of the ballpark for us as we continue to grow in Colorado and across the country.”

An Approved Gaming Operator of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, MaximBet currently offers sports wagering only in Colorado, but has plans to launch in Indiana and Iowa. It has market access deals in New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada.

According to a release, MaximBet will collaborate with artist SolesbySir, to design “one-of-a-kind baseball and personal interest items for Blackmon. SolesbySir, whose real name is Marcus Rivero, crafted a custom co-branded Rawlings glove, Nike cleats and New Era Rockies hat and, given Blackmon’s love of fishing, he minted a personalized tackle bag, fisherman’s scissors and cooler for the new MaximBet ambassador.”

With the announcement, Colorado burnished its place in the history of legal sports betting in the United States. In 2020, the University of Colorado signed a deal with PointsBet that was the first such sponsorship and marketing agreement between a sportsbook and an institution of higher learning.

Photo by AP Photo / David Zalubowski
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Brant James

Brant James is a veteran journalist who has twice been recognized in the Associated Press Sports Editors Awards, most recently in 2020. He's covered motorsports, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball among a myriad of others beats and written enterprise and sports business for publications including USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com.

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