If there’s a licensing deal that might have the most upside for operators, it’s probably Major League Soccer (MLS). Lucky for them, MLS looks like it’s more than ready to jump into the sports betting industry and sign a deal, ESPN reports.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber sees sports betting as a way of building up the brand. It would drive engagement, attract a larger audience, and bringing in more revenue for the league. He reportedly said:
“If people are going to do it, you might as well manage it, organize it. You might as well generate tax revenue for it and find ways that the league could use it as a marketing tool to have people engage more with our players and our clubs.”
Commenting on the possibility of a league stadium getting a naming rights deal with a gambling operator, Garber spilled the beans. “If there’s a possibility with a gaming company naming one of our stadiums, I’m all for it,” he said. “We’re in the process of getting close to a major league-wide sponsorship with a respected gaming company, and I’m very supportive of that as have the other leagues.”
So it’s not really a question of if, but when. Whoever gets the deal is likely going to spend a lot less than they would on the bigger leagues, like let’s say an NBA or NFL. With the growth MLS is experiencing, that could pay off huge in not very long.
In August 2018, Inc described MLS as the best story in sports business. Packed houses, key demographics, and league expansion are creating a recipe for success both now and in the future. They currently bring in $90 million from their broadcast rights, but will re-negotiate just one year before the 2026 World Cup, to be held in North America.
All this is to say that the advertising rights as MLS sports betting partner will never be cheaper than they are now. If MLS is really close to a deal, that operator is likely getting the best bargain available in the market.