A partnership has been announced between MGM Resorts International and Major League Soccer. This will be MLS’s first partner in the gaming industry. For MGM, it’s another key partnership like the ones they have with the NHL and MLB professional sports leagues.
In an announcement on Tuesday, MGM announced that Roar, the joint partnership of GVC Holdings and MGM Resorts will be MLS’ exclusive and official sports gambling partner. MGM Resorts and Roar will gain access to what they call enhanced league data for customers, signage at over 100 games broadcast nationally, and event opportunities in Nevada. Financial details were not discussed.
MGM Resorts and MLS will also develop some free games to build up a base of potential sports gamblers where it’s legal, and to cultivate fan engagement.
As of right now, sports gambling is legal in the District of Columbia and about eight other state including Nevada, and at least 10 more are probably going to legalize the activity during 2019.
This is not MGM’s first deal with a sports league; in fact, it’s the fourth. Last year MGM signed with NBA, NHL, and MLB. According to a Vegas-based partner at Global Market Advisors, Brendan Bussman, those deals are:
“…about building out a good database of sports fans to engage and have a conversation with. MGM Resorts’ strategy has been to focus on the professional leagues to accomplish this goal.”
There’s no way to tell right now if MGM Resort’s motivation to create partnerships as soon as possible will mean it will gain an advantage. According to Chris Grove from Eilers & Krejcik, it’s too soon to tell. First off, there isn’t any way to tell if these partnerships will give MGM a leg-up with customers. Second, MGM might end up as one of many partners as sports betting continues to expand.
As of now, MLS has 27 teams across the U.S. and Canada. A 28th club will be chosen by the League very soon, and it could potentially expand even more past 28 teams.
All sports together other than football, baseball, and basketball make up only 10 percent of betting in Nevada, but as just mentioned, MLS is growing quickly. It also happens to have the youngest, most diverse fan base among all the other major leagues, which could potentially make soccer an attractive sport for casinos to advertise.
Aside from a younger fan base in general, Hispanics account for 34 percent of MLS viewers, while women make up for almost half of all MLS viewers. Promoting soccer games at casinos would definitely bring in a wider client base to the sportsbook operators.
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