The NFL is joining the bandwagon of professional sports leagues that are partnering with major gaming firms, announcing Thursday that Caesars Entertainment would become the league’s first official casino sponsor.
According to the Associated Press, sources say that the deal is worth $30 million per year over three years.
Sports Betting Not Included
Unlike similar deals signed by the NBA, NHL, and MLB – all of which partnered with MGM Resorts International – this deal does not cover sports betting, keeping in line with the NFL’s cooler relationship with legalized wagering.
In a press release announcing the deal, the league pointed out that seven NFL teams already have relationships with Caesars, but that all of these deals – including the new one with the league itself – feature similar restrictions.
“These partnerships along with the new League deal are for the Casino category only and does not include sports betting, daily fantasy or hotels/resorts,” the statement read.
Nonetheless, the deal does give Caesars the ability to heavily promote their casino properties at NFL events, including at the NFL draft and the Super Bowl. Caesars also gains the exclusive right to using NFL logos and trademarks in both the United States and the UK.
“All of us at Caesars Entertainment are thrilled to be the first-ever casino partner of the NFL, the most prominent sports league in North America,” Caesars President and CEO Mark Frissora said in a statement.
NFL Distances Itself From Bookmakers
When the three other major American professional sports leagues signed their partnerships with MGM, the emphasis was clearly on sports betting. In those cases, MGM gained the right to use official league data at its sportsbooks, as well as use logos from the leagues at its brick-and-mortar locations. There is no data sharing component to the NFL partnership with Caesars.
The agreement could give Caesars the inside track for hosting the 2020 NFL draft, which is slated to be hosted in Las Vegas. The company operates several properties in the city, including Caesars Palace, The Linq, Bally’s Las Vegas, and Harrah’s Las Vegas, among others.
For the NFL, the deal will give it a partner that can help create the kinds of events for fans that may not have been possible before the league had access to the gaming industry.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with one of the world’s largest gaming and entertainment companies,” Renie Anderson, NFL Senior Vice President for Partnerships, Sponsorship, and Consumer Products, said in the press release. “Combining the NFL with Caesars’ expertise in world class entertainment will provide our fans unique experiences both here in the United States and abroad.”
New NFL Rules Create Grey Area for Teams
While the NFL relaxed its rules on casino sponsorships in August in reaction to the Supreme Court decision that struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the league has remained staunchly against allowing its teams – or itself – from becoming too intertwined with sports betting.
While teams can now directly advertise with and for casinos, they are still not allowed to promote associated sportsbooks. This has already led to some questions about the grey area in this policy, as the New York Jets have advertised online gaming company 888.com at MetLife Stadium – a group that offers casino games, poker, and a sportsbook over the internet in New Jersey.