The Bolt And The Dutiful: PointsBet Drops Drew Brees Weeks After Lightning Death Stunt

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Drew Brees

Less than three weeks after faking his death in an odd marketing stunt, PointsBet relieved Drew Brees of his marketing ambassador duties because of his new coaching job.

PointsBet is terminating its marketing agreement with Brees because of his recent appointment as a paid college football coach, the sportsbook said Thursday. It announced the news on Twitter, the same platofrm it used earlier this month to orchestrate a marketing stunt around a fake lightning strike hitting the former Super Bowl MVP:

“PointsBet would like to congratulate Drew Brees on his appointment as Interim Assistant Coach for the Purdue Boilermakers. While this is an exciting next step in his career, after careful review, we have decided to end our ambassador partnership agreement with Drew. Regulatory and legal compliance, responsible gaming practices, and the integrity of legal sports betting are top priorities for our organization and this decision will allow us to uphold that commitment. We wish Drew all the best as he returns home to his alma mater.”

PointsBet Press Release

Drew Brees returns to NCAA football

Brees recently took on an interim assistant coach role with the Purdue football team. He will make his coaching debut Jan. 2 when the Boilermakers play LSU – a Caesars Sportsbook partner itself – in the Citrus Bowl.

Brees signed a multiyear agreement with PointsBet for an undisclosed amount in July 2021, and has been one of the its mos- featured commercial stars since. He was at the forefront of promotion around “lightning bets”, though not every promotion was a hit.

“The recent Drew Brees lightning commercial is an inappropriate, disgusting method of promoting gambling or any TV commercial campaign,” the Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors International told TMZ.

College sports integrity concerns

The NCAA’s name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules do not appear to explicitly prohibit student-athletes from endorsing sports betting companies, though some states like New Jersey have made it illegal. The organization’s restrictions on college coaches are even murkier.

PointsBet is one of two sportsbooks to have marketing agreements with a US college, including the University of Maryland, which plays in the same Big Ten conference as Purdue. Gaming regulators and federal lawmakers have critcized those partnerships, which recently drew scrutiny in a New York Times article.

A spokesperson for PointsBet declined to disclose how many years were left on Brees’s contract.

Brees played at Purdue for three years before spending 20 seasons in the NFL, where he made 13 Pro Bowls and, in 2009, won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints.