The National Basketball Association is reportedly talking with European online gambling companies about a potential marketing tie-up.
On Tuesday, BleacherReport.com reported that its sources were saying the NBA was having talks with several online sports betting firms – including but not limited to Bwin.party and William Hill – about becoming the leagues’ official betting partner in regulated European markets.
The NBA is allegedly seeking a “multiyear, multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal” that would include cross-platform branding on the NBA’s European broadcasts and the lucky betting firm’s sportsbooks.
Bwin.party’s New Jersey-licensed PartyPoker site already has a sponsorship deal with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, although there’s no indication that this gives Bwin.party an inside track (and they’re not exactly rolling in spare cash). Whichever lucky firm rises to the top, the parties reportedly hope to conclude the deal this summer in time for the start of the new season in the fall.
The sources claimed the NBA was inspired by “the success that English Premier League soccer clubs have had with sports betting operators, and they’re following the same model.” The source claimed the league understood that this was “an opportunity to open up another revenue stream overseas, in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made no secret of his desire to see US federal politicians implement a regulatory framework for legal sports betting and many team owners are on board with Silver’s stance. Former Sixers PR man Joe Favorito said Silver’s betting push was in part motivated by the scheduled collective bargaining negotiations between the league and its players in 2017.
Favorito believes “Adam’s got to figure out ways to make more money.” With salaries rising, new revenue streams are crucial for the league to keep the game affordable for fans. “The gambling and gaming space, as it becomes legal, will be a revenue stream that will only be surpassed by broadcast, which is in the billions already.”