In another huge announcement, the NHL said that MGM Resorts will be its official sports betting partner under a multi-year data and marketing agreement. This is the second kind of deal for MGM in 2018: in July, the casino giant signed a $25 million contract with the NBA.
At a press conference on Monday, NHL Commissioner Bettman and MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren made an announcement naming MGM Resorts the official sports betting partner and resort destination for the League. Bettman said the deal was “both exciting and groundbreaking for our League – This is a broad, encompassing relationship between two powerful brands.”
In discussing the deal itself, Bettman said:
“The way we’ve structured the framework for the League and the teams, not unlike television arrangements, there is a national component and we provide for the clubs to have a local component. If you happen to be in a jurisdiction that has sports betting your opportunities are going to be great for the club and the local market.”
The League is working on next-generation data like puck tracking, which can be used for in-play betting. With this partnership, both the NHL and sports betting entities will benefit from advancements in sports technology.
In addition to Nevada and New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Mississippi have a legal regulated industry. In New Mexico, a tribal group now offers sports betting under a gaming compact with the U.S. government. Within the next two months, both Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are expected to launch multiple legal sportsbooks, and there are several other states working on legislation for the upcoming session.
MGM will have access to intellectual property of the NHL including all trademarks, to use for promotion and marketing. MGM will also gain access to real-time advanced game data, which is being developed by the NHL. The data has already been tested this season and is set to go through more tests; Bettman said “it should be ready for primetime next season.”
The casino giant will have the ability to reach NHL fans via communications to subscribers of the NHL’s fan database. This database will market the resort brands and promote the M life Rewards program, which has 31 million members.
The two partners do not have an exclusivity deal, so the NHL can make agreements with other sports betting entities. This would give any new partners the same real-time data as MGM. Any revenue created by this partnership will be hockey-related, which means that players and owners will split it 50/50. The revenue earned is at a fixed amount; the NHL won’t receive any revenue from actual bets placed.
Legalized sports betting revenue for the NHL might increase by $216 million, according to the American Gaming Association. Revenues for the NHL were in excess of $4.5 billion for the 2017-18 season.
The NHL’s deal with MGM Resorts does not prohibit individual teams from making deals with local sports betting companies. Some already have: the NJ Devils have a multi-year deal with William Hill. This involves a sports betting lounge complete with more than 20 screens inside Prudential Center.
The Vegas Golden Knights also have a partnership agreement with William Hill.
The AGA prefers the type of deal the NHL has made with MGM, rather than legislative mandates on data and revenue. Sara Slane, the senior VP of public affairs, commented on these types of industry changing deals:
“Sports betting agreements through contracts enhance fan and consumer experience. The NHL’s announcement today further strengthens the bond between sports entities and gaming companies, who are committed to preserving the integrity of the game. As legal sports betting expands, we are encouraged by the growing relationship between gaming companies and the major sports leagues.”
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