Oct 31, 2018 at 12:00 AM
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12 Sponsorship Deals That Highlight Gaming's Huge Potential

Back in May of 2018, the US Supreme Court legalized sports betting. One of the biggest sponsorship categories abroad, it's no surprise that since that time, in no less than six months, we've seen a whirlwind of activity in the the sports betting, gaming and casino category with new rules rapidly reshaping how teams and leagues approach the once shunned upon category.

Here is a quick recap of some of that activity from the past few months:

1. On June 13th, 2018, sports betting giant William Hill signs its first deal with a U.S. professional sports team inking a partnership with the Las Vegas Lights FC of the United Soccer League.

2. MGM partners with NBA to be its official gaming partner for 3 years and $25 million dollars on July 31st, 2018

3. NFL approves franchise sports partnerships on Aug 30th 2018

4. Dallas Cowboys team up with Winstar World Casino for the NFL’s first official casino partnership on Sept 6th 2018.

5. The new Alliance of American Football partners with MGM Resorts as the league's official betting sponsor in a three-year deal.

6. On September 18th, 2018, the Vegas Golden Knights become the first NHL team to partner with a sports book.

7. Less than one week later, the NHL runner-up Golden Knights also make history by signing the first sponsorship between a gaming equipment manufacturer and a major-league sports team

8. Baltimore Ravens become the 2nd NFL franchise to sign casino partnership on October 19th, 2018

9. Unikrn, a cryptocurrency esports company backed by Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher, receives approval for legalized esports betting on Oct 25th, 2018

10. MGM partners with NHL for its 2nd sports league partnership on Oct 29th 2018

11. Caesars Entertainment partners with Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center on Oct 30th 2018

12. MGM partners with the New York Jets on Oct 31st, 2018

In such a short amount of time, we have seen two leagues, three NFL franchises, an NBA franchise, an NHL franchise, sports venue and esports properties make an active push to take advantage of this new opportunity in the U.S. With MGM and William Hill both indicating they are actively pursuing additional team partnerships, the category looks like a land-grab opportunity reminiscent to some other emerging sponsorship categories that we have seen in the past. Different than similar land grab categories, however, is that this time category exclusivity isn't required as most deals to date are on a non-exclusive access. While most deals at the league-level have centered on access to the league's proprietary data, team sponsorships in the category tend to be more rooted in specific assets that drive customer acquisition for nearby casino locations.

Still, some hurdles remain to future deals. While the NBA and NHL have the fewest restrictions on sports betting deals, the NFL will allow its franchises to pursue sponsorship opportunities with casino and gaming organizations, but forbids the advertising of sports betting sites in venues. MLB, while seeming to have the most robust data capabilities to offer sports betting partners, has taken the most cautious approach among the big four leagues.

With the United States ranked as the fastest growing sports betting market with an average growth rate of $10 billion since 2016, expect sports properties and leagues to show no slowdown in capitalizing on this massive growth opportunity.