Alliances between sports teams and gambling companies the new norm

Caesars Announces New Sponsorship Deals With Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils

Caesars Entertainment

The not-so-novel concept of sports teams partnering with gambling companies is catching on like gangbusters in the US.

According to a tweet from ESPN reporter David Purdum, casino giant Caesars Entertainment has partnered with two franchises in the east — the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and the New Jersey Devils (NHL).

Coverage from the Philadelphia Business Journal includes that eye-catching mention of a lounge. Just last week, William Hill announced it would operate a branded space inside the arena as the Devils’ first partner tied to sports betting.

With two sports lounges now set to open at Prudential Center, space is getting a little tight around the concourse.

Caesars enters the sports sponsorship game

While new sports betting companies like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook are just settling into the New Jersey market, the established giants are going after big-ticket marketing deals.

These partnerships with the 76ers and Devils involve substantial cross-promotion, both on-site and across social media platforms. Caesars will advertise “the non-sportsbook elements” of its casino empire inside Prudential Center and Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers play their home games.

Here’s more from SportsPro:

The agreement will see the Caesars Casino and Sports betting app made available inside the new Caesars Club, a 5,000-square-foot premium restaurant and bar that will be located on the main concourse of the Devils’ Prudential Center home. The facility will provide VIP hospitality to premium seat members for all of the ice hockey franchise’s home games, as well as for concerts staged at the venue.

In addition, Caesars will have its branding appear on Prudential Center’s 80 digital boards, outer LED board, club level tickets, premium wristbands and concourse pillars. The company will also have a presence at 76ers games through advertising placements.

Sports and gambling getting to know each other

These deals are the second (and third) in recent weeks for the Caesars family. A Friday ago, Horseshoe Baltimore announced itself as an official casino partner for the hometown Baltimore Ravens of the NFL.

In addition, six other sports/gambling deals have materialized over the last few months:

The US Supreme Court decision on sports betting was, of course, the primary catalyst. Sponsorship rules were relaxed in some places, and hungry gambling companies now have a direct marketing channel within professional sports — something that was mostly off-limits until this year.

A logical, if unexpected choice

Although this concept is mostly new in the US, the two franchises involved do have some experience working with gambling companies. Both have had a relationship with partypoker in the past, and as mentioned, the Devils recently aligned with William Hill.

The 76ers hold a special place in the heart of DraftKings dating back to the days when it was purely a daily fantasy sports company. In 2014, the Philly franchise became the company’s very first NBA partner, starting a roster that grew into double digits. Shortly thereafter, DraftKings also signed a deal with the Wells Fargo Center that included an on-site fantasy sports lounge.

Both of those deals have apparently expired, however, and Caesars has scooped up the available branding space. It seems to make a good bit of sense. The company owns property in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, one of which has sports gambling while the other is on the cusp. PA sports betting should launch in a matter of weeks or months.

This new arrangement at Prudential Center is reminiscent of those DFS deals in a lot of ways, with sports betting beginning to replace the physical footprint DFS established. Although neither lounge will serve as an actual sportsbook, NJ sports betting is available statewide on mobile devices — including inside the arena.

The same holds true for the PA market once it gets up and running.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.