The New Jersey Devils have been quite active on the sponsorship front in recent weeks. After recently agreeing to sponsorship deals with both William Hill and Caesars Entertainment, it was announced this week that the franchise has agreed to a deal with a third sportsbook. The Devils announced that they have agreed to a deal with FanDuel Sportsbook in a deal that will include the use of FanDuel’s logo on the team’s ice rink.
Both William Hill and Caesars will have their names on lounges inside the Prudential Center, the Devils’ home arena. The on-ice advertisement is a new development for the NHL. Earlier this week, the league granted permission to every team to offer 4 advertisement locations on the ice in each of the corners of the rink. The Devils are the first to strike a deal to sell said ad space.
The Devils appear to be following a pattern that has been utilized by clubs in the English Premier League for quite some time. Sports betting has been legal in the United Kingdom for years, and a number of clubs currently hold partnerships with a number of different sports betting companies. Some clubs even have the logos of sports betting outfits on their jerseys, though nothing of the sort has established itself in the United States as of yet. NBA teams have the ability to sell ad space on their jerseys, but no betting company has taken advantage thus far.
The NHL additionally announced that FanDuel will have exclusive rights to advertise as the league’s official destination for all things fantasy sports. FanDuel will also be tabbed as the official betting partner of the NHL. FanDuel becomes the second sports betting company to have a deal with the NHL after MGM came to terms on an agreement with the league earlier this year.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, “We’re talking about having relationships with a number of entities in addition to these two.” NHL.com reports that the league will also have influence over what kinds of bets can be offered by its betting partners. Bettman added, “Having a direct relationship gives us the input to do that and that’s important to us, because some bets make more sense than others. Or saying it differently, some bets make less sense than others. That’s something we’re going to keep an eye on.”
New Jersey has rapidly grown as a sports betting hub since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 this past May. That ruling cleared the way for individual states to determine whether or not to legalize and regulate sports betting within their respective borders. New Jersey became the first state outside of Nevada to do so after the ruling, and the industry has boomed in the months since. Sportsbooks in New Jersey reportedly took in $184 million worth of bets during the month of September, which is 47 percent of the amount wagered in the state of Nevada.
The NHL joined a host of other professional leagues as well as the NCAA in fighting New Jersey’s lawsuit to get PASPA struck down. However, realizing that the new laws mean all sorts of new potential revenue streams, both the NHL and NBA have amended their stances to embrace the new opportunities. Back in 2012, Bettman said, “It is my judgment that in terms of what we try to create, what we want to present, the atmosphere that we want people to feel a part of is inconsistent with sports betting.”
Obviously, the commissioner has since changed his tune considerably.
DraftKings became the first company to offer a betting app in New Jersey when they launched their own sportsbook in early August. DraftKings has dominated since being the first to get in on the action, as they owned two-thirds of the market share for mobile sports betting in September. While DraftKings was the first to dip its toes into the market, FanDuel has since done so with success, as well. FanDuel is the only other operator in the state to have exceeded $2 million in online revenue.
FanDuel’s sportsbook in the Meadowlands near MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s New York Giants and Jets, finished September as the top-earning sportsbook in the state. The FanDuel Sportsbook brought in $4.3 million in revenue during the month. FanDuel CEO Matt King told ESPN, “Having the brick and mortar shop is very important because we’re a mobile-first brand that typically is reaching the 40 and under crowd, and so it allows us to be credible with an older population.”
While the number of states to have legalized sports betting is still limited, the partnership with the NHL will give FanDuel the opportunity to market itself to a nationwide population. NHL chief revenue officer Keith Wachtel said, “The deal will give them branding opportunities with us on a national basis.” Wachtel also added that the league is not actively seeking out additional opportunities with other sports betting companies at the moment.
6 states in the country currently offer legal sports betting, but Nevada and New Jersey are the only 2 that are currently home to professional sports franchises. Expansion into Nevada is a recent development, as the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights became the first professional team in the state when they began play in 2017. The NFL is set to move into Las Vegas when the Raiders move in from Oakland in 2020. Major League Baseball is also reportedly looking at potential expansion into the city in the future. The other 4 states (Mississippi, West Virginia, Delaware, New Mexico) that currently offer legalized sports betting do not have pro teams. The Devils, Giants and Jets are the only teams that play in New Jersey after the NBA’s Nets moved from Newark to nearby Brooklyn 2012.
FanDuel will become the first sports betting company to have its logo plastered on a playing surface in the United States. William Hill has its advertisement on the boards at the home of the Golden Knights, but not on the ice itself.
The Devils are owned by the same group that owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers announced their own partnership with Caesars Entertainment in October.
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