The NFL world and the sports betting world are intermingling like never before.
The league has let go of many of its negative perceptions about betting now that it is legal in many states, with more to come. In the latest connection between the NFL and sports betting, the Detroit Lions announced on Thursday that it has entered a partnership agreement with BetMGM to be the “club’s first Official Sports Betting Partner.” Yahoo Sports has a multiyear partnership as the official Digital Media Sports Partner of MGM Resorts.
You couldn’t have imagined the Lions news a few years ago, given the NFL’s history.
BetMGM and Lions partner up
The partnership touted “fan-focused assets such as presenting sponsor of Lions Bingo and Lions Perks.” Lions Bingo was introduced in 2019 as a free game in which fans guess plays that could happen or which stats could be reached during Lions games for non-cash prizes. This year, fans will be eligible to win cash prizes and paid trips to visit MGM Resorts properties in the United States.
There will also be team broadcast programming, digital marketing assets, and in-stadium promotions and signage.
The Lions and MGM Resorts already were in a multi-year partnership, which included the MGM Grand Detroit Tunnel Club at Ford Field.
“The Detroit Lions historic relationship with BetMGM has been years in the making and we’re proud to announce details of our official partnership,” Lions team president Rod Wood said in a statement. “We’re continuously seeking new ways to entertain and involve our fans which is especially important during such unusual times; this partnership with BetMGM will provide additional and exciting opportunities to engage our fans.”
Sports betting was passed into Michigan law late in 2019. The team and NFL are not going to miss out on a marketing opportunity, no matter how long they resisted anything related to gambling in the past.
A changing landscape
For the next few years, the NFL will presumably add more sports betting partnerships. As more states adopt laws to legalize sports betting, sportsbooks and teams will be looking to team up.
The various partnerships with casinos and the way the NFL has embraced the Las Vegas market with the Raiders moving there this season are signs of how the league wants to incorporate the sports betting market.
Sports betting is a huge industry and many of the NFL’s fans enjoy wagering on games. For decades, the NFL didn’t want to acknowledge the gambling industry at all. That has changed.
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