The new legal sports betting environment has inspired a considerable amount of change. That includes the relationships between various pro and amateur leagues and gambling operators. Once upon a time, leagues and teams kept their distance from sportsbooks and gambling as a whole.
It’s a much different story these days. US sports betting is booming. It’s legal and safe in a growing number of states, and numerous hands are reaching for pieces of the pie. A growing trend of partnerships between sports entities and sportsbooks has emerged and shows no signs of abating.
In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that we haven’t even come close to reaching the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a look at where things currently stand on the deal-making front.
The NFL has not signed a league-wide sports betting sponsorship deal as of yet, but the individual clubs have received a green light to do so. The league itself signed a three-year deal with Caesars Entertainment in 2019 that’s worth a reported $30 million annually. The gambling giant is the “official casino partner” of the NFL.
It’s mainly a marketing deal that gives Caesars the exclusive right to use NFL trademarks in the US and UK. No word on whether that will translate into a full-blown sports betting deal in the future. As for the individual teams, a number of them have at least some kind of deal in place.
|Arizona Cardinals||Gila River Hotels & Casinos||2019|
|Baltimore Ravens||Horseshoe Casino Baltimore||2018|
|Buffalo Bills||Seneca Resorts & Casinos||2019|
|Carolina Panthers||Harrah’s Cherokee Resort||2019|
|Dallas Cowboys||Winstar Casino||2018|
|Denver Broncos||FanDuel, Betfair & BetMGM||2020|
|Green Bay Packers||Oneida Casino||2019|
|Indianapolis Colts||PointsBet & Caesars / William Hill||2019|
|Las Vegas Raiders||BetMGM||2020|
|Los Angeles Chargers/Rams||Pechanga Casino Resort||2020|
|New Orleans Saints||Harrah’s New Orleans||2018|
|New York Giants||DraftKings||2020|
|New York Jets||BetMGM||2018|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Unibet, DraftKings & FoxBet||2019, 2020, 2020|
|Seattle Seahawks||Snoqualmie Casino||2008|
|Washington Football Team||FanDuel||2021|
The Illinois sports betting market went live in 2020. Competition quickly became fierce in what is expected to be a top state for wagering. Many sportsbooks are jockeying for position, and PointsBet has made headway with some key strategic partnerships.
That includes one with the Chicago Bears that saw PointsBet become the team’s first official betting sponsor. The Australia-based bookmaker first began operating in the US in 2019 and has since expanded to multiple states.
The company entered Illinois via a deal with Hawthorne Race Course and has plans for several retail locations across the Chicago area. The Bears deal was signed in September 2020. Legendary Bears player Devin Hester also has a deal in place with PointsBet.
Colorado sports betting also went live in 2020. It’s another hotly contested market that has attracted a slew of top sportsbooks. The Denver Broncos wasted little time in spreading some love around.
The team signed a trio of sports betting partnership deals in rapid succession. First up was a deal with FanDuel in June, followed by an agreement with Betfred the same month. The Broncos completed the hat trick with the announcement of a deal with BetMGM in July.
All three deals include the standard marketing language, but the Betfred and BetMGM deals go a step further than simple signage and branding. Here are some of the key highlights for all three deals:
Michigan also joined the ranks of legal sports betting states in 2020 with the opening of retail sportsbooks. It followed up with an online rollout in 2021. Just as we’ve seen in other states, the top sportsbooks were right in line to set up shop.
BetMGM already has brand recognition in the state – MGM Grand Casino in Detroit is a popular destination. A BetMGM Sports Lounge is open for business on site, and the company further increased its visibility by inking a deal with the Detroit Lions.
Signed in September 2020, the deal makes BetMGM the official sports betting sponsor of the team. It’s an expansion of an existing multiyear deal between MGM and the club. Here are the deal’s key points:
Indiana was one of several states that got started with legal sports betting in 2019. It’s been a hit to date in the Hoosier State, with a number of leading Indiana sportsbooks battling it out for market share.
PointsBet, operating in Indiana via a deal with Penn National Gaming, got a boost from a deal that it signed with the Indianapolis Colts in September 2020. It’s the standard arrangement for the two entities with some intriguing exposure opportunities for PointsBet thrown in.
The Colts followed that up with a deal with Caesars and William Hill, which has a sportsbook at Caesars Southern Indiana. Here are a few of the key details of the two sports betting sponsorship deals:
The Raiders franchise relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020. Allegiant Stadium now serves as the home base and made its official debut to the nation on Sept. 21, 2020, for Monday Night Football, a 34-24 win for the Raiders over the New Orleans Saints.
Naturally, the move sparked immediate questions about potential deals for a team located in such a prominent betting city. That was answered quickly as the Raiders announced a partnership several months in advance of setting up shop.
The Raiders joined forces with BetMGM in January 2020 as the sportsbook became the official gambling partner of the silver and black. Just a few months later, the multiyear deal expanded to name BetMGM as an official sports betting partner.
New York sports betting opened for business in 2019 with retail only. It’s still a waiting game for the online and mobile rollout. Meanwhile, neighboring New Jersey is completely open for business and has emerged as a market leader for sports betting.
The Garden State also happens to be home to two NFL teams that bear the New York name. The New York Giants and New York Jets share residence at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. The team known as Big Blue has struck a partnership deal with DraftKings.
It’s an exclusive, multi-year arrangement that started in September 2020. DraftKings became the official sports betting, internet gambling and daily fantasy partner of the team as a result. The two entities already had a relationship in place, but the deal solidified the key aspects:
The Jets were one of the first NFL teams with a gambling sponsorship. The team struck a deal with MGM Resorts in October 2018 that has since evolved into a sports betting sponsorship deal.
The club also had a deal in place for the 2019 campaign with 888 Casino that covered standard advertising throughout the stadium, as well as on broadcasts and team digital properties. For the BetMGM side, here are a few of the top highlights.
Pennsylvania got the ball rolling pretty quickly with legal sports betting in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in May 2018. Retail shops began opening their doors in the latter part of that year, with the mobile PA betting following in 2019.
Just like neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania has proven to be an outstanding market for sports betting with many top sportsbooks leading the way. A few have helped themselves stand out even further by signing deals with the Philadelphia Eagles, including Unibet, which signed on in 2019.
In 2020, the club entered multi-year deals with both DraftKings and Fox Bet. DraftKings is the official sports betting and daily fantasy sports partner of the team, while Fox Bet is an official partner. Highlights of the deals include:
The other Pennsylvania NFL team announced its first sports betting sponsorship deal in November 2020. That was toward the end of the NFL regular season, so we can expect to see things even more in full swing for the coming campaign.
BetMGM is now the Pittsburgh Steelers’ official sports betting partner. As one of the most popular franchises across the nation, this is quite the get for BetMGM, a company that has been aggressive on the partnership front. This deal includes:
Legal sports betting debuted in the Volunteer State in November 2020. While that was in the middle of the NFL season, the Tennessee Titans were at the ready with a sports betting sponsor. The team signed a deal with BetMGM in September of that year.
The competition isn’t quite as fierce in Tennessee as it is in other states, but the deal certainly helps BetMGM stand apart from the pack. As part of the deal, the company gets the following:
Arizona sports betting legislation has yet to be passed. The topic has been explored extensively over the last two years and is making headlines again, thanks to a joint proposal. The state is home to a number of casinos, many of which are operated by local tribes.
In September 2019, the Arizona Cardinals signed a deal with Gila River Hotels & Casinos to be the club’s official hotel and casino partner. The deal calls for the standard marketing arrangement as well as various promotional opportunities.
Sports betting was approved by voters in November 2020. It’s now up to the state Legislature to sort out sports betting in MD, but the hope is that things will be up and running by the 2021 NFL season.
The Ravens already have a deal in place with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore that stretches back to October 2018. The Caesars property is the official casino sponsor of the team, and has a Ravens-branded bar on site.
The Bills have partnered up with Seneca Nation, which operates a trio of casinos in the western part of the state. Seneca Resorts & Casinos is the official partner name, with branding on team properties and promo opportunities as part of the deal.
Retail sports betting has been legal in North Carolina since 2019, but no shops have opened as of yet. The hope is that it will be available at the state’s tribal casinos in the first quarter of 2021.
The Panthers signed a five-year deal with one of the potential spots in November 2019. Harrah’s Cherokee Resort is an official sponsor of the team and receives official branding across club properties as a result.
While there continues to be a push from many circles for legal sports betting in Texas, no substantive progress has happened to date. However, the Dallas Cowboys do have an official casino partner.
The team signed a deal with WinStar Casino in September 2018. Located over the border in Oklahoma, it’s a popular destination that gained the rights to use team marks and logos as part of the agreement.
Sports betting remains a no-no in Wisconsin, and there haven’t even been any major attempts to legalize it. The state doesn’t have any commercial casinos, but there are over two dozen locations operated by Native American tribes.
In August 2019, the Green Bay Packers named Oneida Casino their official gambling partner. Oneida has actually had branding at Lambeau Field as far back as 2002, including an entrance that is known as Oneida Nation gate.
There are continuing efforts to legalize online sports betting in California, but nothing significant has happened yet. Despite that, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers have still taken advantage of the boom time for gambling partnerships.
Pechanga Casino Resort reached a deal with the teams to be a founding partner of SoFi Stadium, as well as the stadium’s casino representative. Pechanga is located about 100 miles away from the stadium in Temecula.
Voters in Louisiana gave a go sign to legal sports betting in 2020. Naturally, there’s still plenty of work to take place, but there is hope that some kind of launch will happen in advance of the 2021 NFL season.
In December 2018, the New Orleans Saints signed a deal with Harrah’s New Orleans to be the club’s official casino partner. The deal calls for a Saints-branded area at the casino as well as various promotional and advertising opportunities.
While sports betting has been legalized in Washington state, things haven’t been introduced in user-friendly fashion. It’s only allowed at tribal casinos, and that includes mobile betting. If you want to bet on an app in the state, you have to be on tribal land.
The Seattle Seahawks have partnered with Snoqualmie Casino, which has been a regular sponsor of the team since 2008. As part of the deal, Snoqualmie gains access to team logos and marks for advertising and promo offerings.
In January 2021, the Washington Football Team made history as the first NFL team to be granted a sports betting permit. It’s a joint license — shared with FanDuel —awarded by the Virginia State Lottery. Sports betting went live in Virginia the same month, with FanDuel the first licensee.
While the Washington Football Team plays its home games in Maryland, the club has its headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia. There have also been rumblings that the team is considering building its next stadium in the state.
Back in 2018, the NBA linked arms with MGM Resorts International. It’s a three-year cross-promotional deal worth a reported $25 million annually. The NBA is promoted across MGM digital properties, and vice versa. Notably, it was a non-exclusive deal that dubbed the company an official gambling partner of both the NBA and WNBA.
On that note, the NBA didn’t stop there. The association has signed similar deals with DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill and several international sportsbooks.
In March 2021, it was announced that Bally’s Corporation and the NBA formed a partnership designating Bally’s as an authorized sports betting operator of the NBA.
In short, the NBA is doing its best to maximize reach across various sports betting properties. On the individual team front, things have moved at a slightly slower pace to date.
|Detroit Pistons||FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, Betrivers||2020, 2020, 2021, 2021|
|Indiana Pacers||DraftKings, PointsBet||2020|
|Memephis Grizzlies||FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Action 24/7||2020|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Harrah’s New Orleans||2018|
|New York Knicks||FanDuel, DraftKings||2020|
|Philladelphia 76ers||Fox Bet, DraftKings, BetMGM||2020, 2020, 2020|
|Washington Wizards||William Hill||2020|
The Michigan sports betting market is booming, and the NBA has been relaxing restrictions on team partnership deals. The Detroit Pistons have taken advantage of those two developments with four sponsorship deals. In 2020, the team announced multi-year deals with both FanDuel and DraftKings.
The two sports betting giants operate in Michigan via deals with MotorCity Casino and Bay Mills Resort & Casino respectively. PointsBet entered the market via Northern Waters Casino Resort, and the Pistons inked a deal with the sportsbook in January 2021. BetRivers, partnered with Little River Casino Resort, joined the fold the same month. Key points of the deals include:
The Denver Nuggets are part of the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment family, which owns several professional clubs in Colorado, including the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. The group as a whole signed a multi-year deal with PointsBet.
In 2019, PointsBet gained access to Colorado via a deal with Double Eagle Hotel and Casino. The deal with Kroenke was inked in August 2020 and named the company as the official gambling partner of the Nuggets and other Kroenke-owned clubs.
The Indiana Pacers have also gone the multiple-deal route. In February 2020, the team hooked up with DraftKings, which is up and running in Indiana thanks to a deal with Ameristar Casino Hotel in East Chicago.
In August 2020, the team signed a deal with PointsBet, which entered the legal Indiana sports betting market courtesy of an agreement with Penn National Gaming. The deals are similar, with various advertising and promotions, but there are some key tenets for both:
Shortly after sports betting was legalized in Tennessee in November 2020, the Memphis Grizzlies announced a deal with FanDuel Sportsbook. The Volunteer State is unique in that there are no physical casinos or sportsbooks in the state.
As such, betting takes place exclusively online and via app, and FanDuel is one of the few sportsbooks approved to do business, along with DraftKings, BetMGM and Action 24/7. These are the key terms of the Grizzlies-FanDuel deal:
While online and mobile betting isn’t permitted in New York as of yet, sportsbooks are on standby for when that happens. There’s nothing imminent, but the hope is that it will happen sooner rather than later.
The New York Knicks have a deal with FanDuel in place for TV broadcasts, and have also hooked up with DraftKings, a company they previously had a relationship with on the daily fantasy sports side. The deal is a multi-year arrangement and it started in January 2020.
The Philadelphia 76ers are another NBA team that has deals with multiple sportsbooks: Fox Bet, DraftKings, and BetMGM. Fox Bet is available in PA via Mount Airy Casino, DraftKings is hooked up with The Meadows and BetMGM has access via Penn National.
The three deals cover the usual advertising and marketing opportunities. Pennsylvania has been a fantastic market for legal sports betting, and the 76ers are certainly maximizing reach on the sponsorship front:
The Washington Wizards are part of the Monumental Sports Entertainment family, which also owns the Capitals and Mystics. In advance of sports betting going live in DC in 2020, Monumental partnered with William Hill.
The deal covers all three of the franchises owned by Monumental. William Hill has set up a temporary retail sportsbook at Capital One Arena, with a permanent location at the venue in the works. Additional terms of the deal include:
While sports betting legalization is still being sorted out in Louisiana, the New Orleans Pelicans have gone the same route as the neighboring Saints. The team has a deal in place with Harrah’s New Orleans as a “proud casino sponsor.”
The year 2018 was a busy one for MGM on the deal-making front. The company also signed a non-exclusive deal with MLB to become an official gambling partner, covering the usual marketing aspects on a non-exclusive basis. The following year, MLB also joined forces with DraftKings and FanDuel on the sports betting front.
The deals came just a few weeks apart, with the DraftKings announcement coming in July, followed by the FanDuel deal in August. DraftKings received the authorized gambling partner tag, while FanDuel became an official gambling partner, and both received marketing privileges.
MLB also has various deals with other sportsbooks, including Bet365 and theScore in the US, and Betcris on the international front. For the individual teams, just a handful of deals have happened so far.
|Boston Red Sox||MGM Springfield||2019|
The Chicago Cubs inked one of the highest-profile sports betting sponsorship deals for a US team to date. In September 2020, the team made headlines with the announcement of a deal with DraftKings.
It’s reportedly worth about $100 million and will span a decade. DraftKings is affiliated with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, and there’s a book bearing its name on site. According to the deal with the Cubs, there will be another retail shop opening in the future.
Colorado has proven to be a great market for legalized sports betting and, by extension, a hotbed for sponsorship deals. All of the major pro teams have signed a sponsorship deal with a Colorado sportsbook, including the Colorado Rockies.
The team signed a deal with DraftKings in September 2020. The sportsbook entered the Colorado betting market via a deal with Twin River Holdings. It’s now both the official daily fantasy and sports betting partner of the club.
The Detroit Tigers made headlines in July 2020 as the first MLB team to sign a deal with a sportsbook. PointsBet has a deal to operate in the state with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, operators of Northern Waters Casino.
A number of local teams have also inked deals, and the dominoes have also started to fall in MLB in the aftermath of the Tigers deal. The multi-year arrangement with PointsBet follows the standard options we’ve seen elsewhere:
The nation’s capital went live with sports betting in 2020. The retail side has proven to be quite popular, while a mobile option, known as Gambet DC, has received mixed reviews at best. However, things are looking up.
The Washington Nationals signed a multiyear deal with BetMGM in January 2021. The deal calls for an app, but those wishing to use it will need to be within a two-block radius of Nationals Park. As for the rest of the deal, here are the key details:
Sports betting isn’t yet legal in Massachusetts, but there’s optimism that will change in 2021. However, there’s a trio of full-service casinos in the state, and the Boston Red Sox inked a sponsorship deal with MGM Springfield in March 2019 that calls for gameday signage, VIP fan experiences and other marketing opportunities.
The NHL’s first foray into sports betting also came via a deal with MGM, which was announced just a few months after the gambling giant inked its deal with the NBA. It’s a similar multi-year arrangement in which MGM became an official gambling partner on a non-exclusive basis.
The league has also worked out arrangements with FanDuel, William Hill and PointsBet since then, following the same tact as the NBA: There’s not one exclusive deal, but rather several with an eye toward multiple marketing avenues. As for the individual teams, several have taken the partnership plunge to date.
|Detroit Red Wings||PointsBet||2021|
|New Jersey Devils||William Hill, FanDuel, Unibet, Caesars||2018, 2018, 2019, 2020|
|New York Rangers||DraftKings||2020|
|Vegas Golden Knights||William Hill||2018|
|Washington Capitals||William Hill||2019|
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, reached a deal with PointsBet in August 2020 to be the official gambling partner of those teams. PointsBet was also named as the official betting partner of regional Kroenke-owned TV and radio outlets as part of the deal.
PointsBet is also up and running in Michigan, and the sportsbook has signed a deal with the team from Hockeytown. The parties signed the deal in January 2021, and it calls for an on-site bar to be renamed to the PointsBet Sports Bar. The Australia-based book also signed a deal with the Detroit Tigers the previous year.
Not too long after sports betting went live in Tennessee, the Nashville Predators struck a deal with one of the biggest sportsbooks in the state. The club partnered with DraftKings in December 2020, naming the sportsbook its official sports betting operator in the process.
Since NJ has seen an ultra-competitive atmosphere for sportsbooks, it should come as no surprise that the lone pro team bearing the state’s name has attracted lots of attention. The New Jersey Devils have been quite receptive, to say the least, as the club has deals in place with four sportsbooks.
In January 2020, the Madison Square Garden corporation signed a deal with DraftKings that covers both the New York Rangers and Knicks. The sports betting giant is the official daily fantasy and sports betting partner of the team and MSG as a result. On the DraftKings side, the deal includes the following:
The Philadelphia Flyers entered a partnership agreement in September 2019 with BetRivers, which was operating under the PlaySugarhouse name in the area at the time. The company’s local casino now operates as Rivers Casino Philadelphia. The deal with the Flyers entitles BetRivers to the following:
The other Pennsylvania NHL team also has a deal in place with BetRivers. The two parties signed the multi-year arrangement in September 2020, and it is an expansion of an existing relationship. It includes similar components to the sportsbook’s deal with the Flyers. BetRivers operates Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and will certainly enhance its presence in the area off of the deal.
The hockey team from Sin City made some headlines — and a little history — in September 2018. The Vegas Golden Knights became the first NHL club to officially sign on with a sportsbook. William Hill, a sportsbook that needs no introduction in Las Vegas, is an official partner of the team. Here are some of the key points of the agreement:
Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards, signed a deal with William Hill that covers both teams. The highlight of the agreement is a William Hill sportsbook at Capital One Arena, housed in temporary digs until the permanent location is complete.
It would have once been unheard of for an NCAA program to have a marketing deal in place with a sportsbook, but it’s a whole new world. In October 2020, at least a few eyebrows were raised when the University of Colorado signed an advertising deal with PointsBet.
While that was technically the first big splash, William Hill already had a pair of longstanding deals in place with programs in Nevada. There are no sports betting sponsorships in place for the NCAA as a whole, nor have any signs emerged that one could be in the offing. For now, here are the few college sports betting deals out there.
The college signed a five-year deal with PointsBet. It mainly covers advertising, with the university in line to receive a reported minimum of $1.625 million, plus a $30 referral fee for each customer it sends in the direction of PointsBet, which will be advertising in the stadium and on team radio broadcasts.
These two institutions have quietly had deals in place with William Hill, one of the top sportsbooks in Nevada. William Hill reached an agreement with UNLV in 2017, and followed that up with a similar arrangement with Nevada-Reno the following year. The deals cover standard advertising, but exact terms aren’t public knowledge.
While the major North American team-based sports have attracted the majority of the headlines on the sportsbook partnership front, the deals haven’t stopped there. Other sports leagues want in, and sportsbooks want fans to know where they can go to place bets on the sports they love. From that perspective, it’s a win-win situation.
The PGA Tour is a popular attraction at online sportsbooks, which want to be noticed whenever there’s a tour stop on tap. The PGA has agreements in place with four sportsbooks — BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet — all of which provide various advertising and marketing rights.
NASCAR has taken a similar path as the PGA. As opposed to one exclusive partner, the organization has decided to spread the wealth while maximizing its reach. NASCAR has deals in place with BetMGM, Penn National and WynnBET, with all three of the books getting assorted marketing and promotional rights.
MLS, the top North American soccer league, signed a four-year non-exclusive deal with BetMGM in March 2019. The deal covers the usual points, with the sportsbook also permitted to provide a free-to-play game for fans. MLS teams are also allowed to sign individual deals, such as the DC United hooking up with FanDuel in October 2020.
For other top sports — tennis, UFC, boxing, etc. — no major deals have been signed as of yet, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the works. In addition, certain large one-off events have attracted sponsorships, such as DraftKings and a recent return to the boxing ring by Mike Tyson.
Naturally, sportsbook sponsorship deals have not solely revolved around the games and events themselves. There have been a number of intriguing tie-ins in recent times, both on the local and national level. On the latter front, here are some of the more noteworthy partnerships and what they entail.
NBC Universal agreed to a multi-year deal with PointsBet in August 2020, labeling the sportsbook its official sports betting partner in the process. PointsBet gets a presence on the major and regional NBC Sports outlets, as well as on various digital assets in the family.
ViacomCBS chose William Hill as its official sports betting partner in a deal that began in March 2020. William Hill gets the exclusive marketing rights for sports betting across CBS digital properties, and also a presence on various CBS Sports broadcasts.
The cable sports powerhouse entered a multi-year arrangement with Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill in September 2020. Digital platforms from ESPN will feature odds and lines from the book, and there will also be link integration across various web and mobile properties between the two sides.
Turner Sports announced a pair of deals in October 2020 with FanDuel and DraftKings. The former is now the official NBA sportsbook partner across company properties, while DraftKings gets the same nod for other select sports. Highlights include a FanDuel presence on NBA telecasts, and customized content from DraftKings for Bleacher Report.
Fox Sports has taken a much different approach from its media competitors. Back in 2019, the company teamed up with The Stars Group to form Fox Bet, a standalone sports betting app. Since that time, Flutter Entertainment acquired The Stars Group, so FanDuel and Fox Bet are under the same umbrella.
Beyond network partnerships, sportsbooks have also sought deals with other media entities, such as BetMGM joining up with both Yahoo Sports and The Athletic. Things continue to evolve quickly in the legal sports betting space, so it’s safe to say that there will be even more deals to come in the near and distant future.
BetMGM has made tremendous strides in expanding its market presence in a short period of time, but the company isn’t resting on its laurels by a longshot. The latest move is a deal with TopGolf, the popular sports entertainment company which has dozens of destinations across the nation.