If the day ends in “y,” there is likely to be a significant announcement that has something to with sports betting.
As if on cue, Monday’s press conference came courtesy of the NHL and MGM, owners of Borgata in New Jersey.
The announcement named MGM Resorts as the National Hockey League‘s first official sports betting partner.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke about the new partnership at the press conference.
“We are here to make an announcement that is both exciting and ground-breaking for our league. We’re delighted to let you know that the NHL has entered into our first league-wide sports betting partnership, and we’ve done so with a company that, in many ways, is already part of the NHL family.”
That makes two of four for MGM
The deal might be “groundbreaking” for the NHL, but it isn’t for MGM. The company entered into a $25 million marketing and sponsorship contract with the NBA earlier this summer.
MGM Resorts Chairman & CEO Jim Murren also commented on the arrangement:
“We couldn’t be more excited to enter into this historic partnership with the NHL. The League is home to some of the most exciting action in sports, and we are thrilled to join with them to create new immersive and exhilarating experiences for hockey fans.”
The details of the agreement are scarce. We do know the partnership includes customer database sharing for joint email marketing opportunities. Additionally, MGM will have access to “previously unseen enhanced NHL proprietary game data.”
The league has been testing player and puck tracking systems and expects to completely implement it next season. The resulting real-time data will allow MGM to offer “new and innovative interactive fan engagement and betting opportunities.”
In an email to The Associated Press, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said MGM “will access (NHL data) through our third-party vendor, SportRadar. That may or may not change in the future.” As a side note, NBA data is also available through SportRadar.
The financial details of the agreement are not available, but the partnership is not exclusive. That means the NHL and its teams can shop around for more deals.
Give the devil his sports bet
The deal with MGM does not impact teams creating their own sponsorship opportunities. Two NHL teams currently have sponsorship contracts in place with William Hill: Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils.
In an announcement last week, the Devils formed its first gaming sponsorship. Under the agreement, William Hill will build a “sports lounge” on the main concourse of the Prudential Center.
It might look like a sportsbook, and it might act like a sportsbook, but it isn’t precisely a sportsbook.
There will be plenty of televisions and an odds board, but that is where the similarities stop. The NHL draws the line at accepting sports wagers at any of its venues. What is not prohibited, though, is the use of a mobile sports betting app.
In addition to being open during all NJ Devils’ home games, the lounge will also be available for all events held at the Prudential Center.
AGA predictions coming true
The American Gaming Association (AGA) wanted to study legal sports betting and analyze its impact on the industry. The organization has been sharing the results of the study and how the major sports leagues stand to benefit.
Specifically, the NHL will see an estimated increase of $216 million in sports betting revenue. The money will come by way of sponsorship agreements, like the one with the MGM, increased fan engagement, and larger viewing audiences.
Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA, spoke of the latest partnership in a press release.
“Sports betting agreements through contracts enhance the fan and consumer experience. The NHL’s announcement today further strengthens the bond between sports entities and gaming companies, who are each committed to preserving the integrity of the game. As legal sports betting expands, we are encouraged by the growing relationship between gaming companies and the major sports leagues.”
There are 31 teams in the NHL. So far, only two have deals in place. Both deals are non-exclusive agreements. Surely, there are more deals on the horizon. Don’t look now, but tomorrow is another day that ends in “y.”