The success of New Jersey sports betting has helped lead to yet another partnership between a major sports league and a sports betting operator. The National Hockey League is joining MGM Resorts International for a multi-year deal that grants the company rights to NHL’s intellectual property.
MGM Resorts now has the ability to use the branding of all 31 NHL teams, which is sure to give them a huge lead when it comes to hockey betting.
Intellectual property isn’t the only commodity that will be traded in this new partnership, as the NHL will also provide MGM with a large amount of advanced game data. The NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman promises that we will see real-time NHL data by next season.
The contract is two-sided, as MGM becomes the official sports betting partner for the NHL, and in turn the league has announced MGM resorts as the official resort partner. The commissioner has confirmed that the partnership is meant to expand beyond sports betting and into other industries as well.
A major influence on the business relations of the two companies is due to the Vegas Golden Knights immensely successful first season. In fact, William Hill will have its branding at T-Mobile Arena where the Golden Knights host their home games, which have become can’t-miss for their fans and tourists, alike.
The question on some people’s minds is, if NHL arenas tend to be seen as family-friendly places, would sports betting kiosks being added to the arenas ruin that. The good news is Bettman has confirmed that won’t happen and sports betting will only be available via mobile apps during the games.
Naturally, this applies only to states that have legalized mobile wagering on sports betting apps.
While this partnership is unique in itself, it’s far from a first one for either company. The legalization of US sports betting has created a lot of new business ventures for both MGM Resorts and the NHL.
At first, it was only NHL teams striking deals with sports betting operators on their own. Great examples of this are the Vegas Golden Knights, as mentioned earlier, and the New Jersey Devils, both of whom William Hill US has taken under its wing in the past two months.
Their partnerships ensure you will be seeing a lot of William Hill’s branding at the home arenas of both teams and in the case of the Devils, this led to plans of a brand new arena opening up, sponsored by William Hill US.
On the other end, this isn’t MGM Resorts’ first deal with a major sports league either. Earlier this year, they signed a deal to become the official gaming partner of the NBA. The rights to the NBA’s intellectual property cost MGM $25 million over the next three years.
Unlike the case of the NBA partnership in July,, we don’t know any concrete numbers about MGM Resorts’ new business venture.
Bettman’s commitment to such a massive partnership with a sports betting operator is interesting, given his major involvement with getting the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), approved back in 1992.
Bettman, however, doesn’t see much irony in his change of heart. In a press release, he shared his views on legalized sports betting being a sign of the times. While it may have been the right thing to do to keep betting out of US sports in the 1990’s, the amount of fan engagement now shows it’s no longer the case.
There will still be some limitations to the NHL’s involvement with MGM Resorts, such as financial profits happening only indirectly, without any integrity fees.
However, the NBA said the same thing back in July, only to later introduce integrity fees in West Virginia, so only time will tell.