The New York Jets have become the first National Football League team to ink a sponsorship deal with an online gambling operator.
Late Monday, the New York Post broke the news that the Jets had signed a contract with UK-listed online gambling operator 888 Holdings. Banners promoting 888 were on display outside the Jets’ MetLife Stadium during Sunday’s game vs. the Chicago Bears and the company’s New Jersey-licensed site identifies 888 as a “proud sponsor” of the team, whose logo is prominently featured.
So far, two NFL teams – the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens – have announced tie-ups with brick-and-mortar casinos following the league rethinking its longstanding ban on gambling-related partnerships. However, neither of those deals involved a state in which sports betting has been declared legal.
The Jets-888 deal will reportedly be formally announced later this week, but the Jets appear to have limited 888 to promoting its online casino and poker operations rather than its 888sport brand (which launched in New Jersey in September). Regardless, visitors to 888’s New Jersey-licensed site are only one click away from the sports betting page, which prominently features a logo-free football player.
CAESARS INKS DEVILS, 76ERS PARTNERSHIP
Meanwhile, casino operator Caesars Entertainment has struck a ‘multi-year’ partnership with the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils and the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams are owned by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which has previously linked both teams to the New Jersey-licensed operations of online poker site PartyPoker.
The NBA’s official announcement of the deal states that it will “introduce New Jersey sports fans to Caesars Entertainment’s new sports book experience” at its Atlantic City venues and via its New Jersey-licensed betting app. Pennsylvania has yet to officially launch its legal wagering market, so Sixers fans’ exposure will likely be limited to Caesars’ casino offering for the time being.
In addition to the standard in-stadia branding opportunities, the deal will also allow Caesars to open a 5k-square-foot ‘Caesars Club’ at the Devils’ Prudential Center home ice, similar to a deal the Devils announced with bookmaker William Hill just last week. Devils fans will also have a shot at winning $1m via an on-ice promotion during 10 regular season home games.
It is something to see North American sports entities falling over themselves to take advantage of the new legal betting climate. Monday saw the NHL ink its first official gaming partnership with casino operator MGM Resorts in a deal that involves access to proprietary player data that will play a key role in future in-play betting opportunities.