Major League Baseball is the third major sports league to form a partnership with MGM.
Major League Baseball announced on November 27 that it was entering a four-year deal with MGM Resorts and designating them as the "official gaming partner of MLB." MGM sportsbooks operate in three states, as they continue to build upon New Jersey sports betting, Nevada sports betting and Mississippi sports betting. The partnership could also help Resorts gain an edge when they enter Pennsylvania sports betting.
MLB will be joining the NBA and NHL as the third sports league this year to enter the sports betting market with MGM, which also includes cross-promotion with their popular platforms like MLB Network, MLB.com and the At Bat app, as well as possibly showcasing the MGM brand at ballparks and baseball events. It will allow bettors to bet on baseball with ease through multiple platforms and allow MGM to utilize real-time statistics and enhanced statistics for MLB betting purposes.
Commissioner Rob Manfred made statements on Tuesday after announcing the multi-year deal with MGM for baseball betting that signified a desire to reverse declining attendance by using sports betting to get viewers engaged. Manfred stated, "Our research is really strong on the idea that sports gaming can be an important source of fan engagement." This may pertain to the decline in attendance over the past few seasons, including a four percent drop last season.
But it could also be in reference to a much-maligned problem in Major League Baseball: pace-of-play. Manfred feels like this is an advantage in baseball betting, as to him it "...gives an opportunity to be creative with respect to the types of wagers" that could be made in between plays. This opens the doors for MGM to offer many micro bets while betting on baseball in between innings and even in between outs. This may open a whole new market for sports bettors who would wager on baseball. You could be betting on Mike Trout hit a home run, Bryce Harper smacking a dinger, Jacob deGrom striking out the side and more. Think Super Bowl prop bets, only having time for way more shenanigans!
Based on a study by Nielsen that was commanded by the American Gaming Association, MLB could eventually reap an estimated $154 million every year through sponsorships, advertising and more. But that's not where the fun ends for MLB, as legal sports betting in the US continues to gain traction. The AGA states that the league could rake in $952 million on top of the $154 million possibly if the baseball audience widens as they expect. This would boost ticket and merchandise sales and inevitably allow MLB to charge more for broadcast rights fees. Currently, there are only eight states that allow legal sports betting, but as that number grows, so will the revenue numbers for Major League Baseball. This push toward MLB betting can only increase baseball's popularity in Commissioner Manfred and MGM Resorts' eyes.