Sports leagues can be incredibly lucrative businesses, especially at the higher levels of the most popular sports in the world. Here in the States, the NFL rules the land, and the NBA has made huge strides to take over as the second most influential. The NFL generates copious amounts of cash. In 2018 it had revenue of over $16 billion, half of which was paid back to the 32 franchises. This makes it one of the most valuable businesses in the country, and therefore it is no surprise that it can attract some of the biggest names in the world as partners and sponsors.
The likes of Anheuser-Busch, one of the biggest drink manufacturers in the world, or Barclays, one of the globe’s biggest banks, are partners this season. However, there was also a relatively recent addition in January 2019, which broke with convention. The league signed a deal worth $30 million with casino operators. The NCAA has steered clear of mixing sports betting with student-athletes because of some ugly situations that ufolded over time. But for the NFL, a huge hospitality and entertainment industry opens up the possibility of fans enjoying a wide number of games ranging from blackjack to roulette.
This partnership will allow NFL fans to be given access to exclusive experiences at Caesars properties, including hotel stays and tickets for entertainment events. Caesars can now sell NFL packages to customers, including for the Super Bowl. This partnership was a direct result of the 2018 Supreme Court verdict which expanded the legalization of sports betting across the country. There’s definitely a greater involvement between casino brands and sports brands since then.
Originally, the NFL had opposed this verdict, fearing that it could cause issues to the sport itself, with one of the biggest potential issues being “courtsiding.” This term refers to when spectators at live sports events take advantage of minute delays in broadcasts to send back live information from the venue, which could help in taking advantage of betting odds. However, with many states beginning to legalize sports betting, the NFL decided to also join the trend and include casino sponsors to increase its potential revenue opportunities. There are still some restrictions on these partnerships. Logos cannot be placed anywhere on the field or in the stadium where they might be picked up by cameras covering the on-field action, while the league has also not opened naming rights for stadiums up to gambling providers yet.
However, the general trend all over the country has been of greater acceptance of gambling. More states are allowing access to online casinos, and while this may not be great news for the land-based gambling hubs of Las Vegas and Atlantic City and various gambling venues all over the country, it does offer fans and players more options. With the potential of such sponsorships only growing, we can expect the 32 franchises to also try and have their own individual gambling sponsorships and partnerships as soon as possible. This is to get as much revenue as possible, as well as take advantage of this new relaxed attitude towards gambling in the USA.