two businessmen shaking hands with team members in the background

Over the last year and a half, multiple sporting firms have entered into collaborations. They include partnerships between betting operators, leagues, teams, media outlets and data suppliers. Now Yahoo Sports, one of the biggest dedicated sports media outlets, is preparing to partner with a Vegas giant to make betting on sporting events – including sporting events that are in progress – easier and more accessible.

Walls Come Crumbling Down

In 2018 the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.  PASPA was, in effect, a federal ban on sports betting and SCOTUS ruled that Congress couldn’t impose such a ban. The ruling caused the wall that separated sports fans and sports betting to come down.

The leagues, which had fought long and hard to keep PASPA in place, immediately started to look for ways to get in on the new revenue stream. They embraced casino operators as partners and allowed their teams to sign their own collaborative partnerships with gambling companies.

Now Yahoo sports and BetMGM are entering into a mega-partnership which aims to “power sports betting for Yahoo Sports and create collaborative content experiences and live events.”

Official Digital Media Sports Partner

MGM is the first casino operator to enter into such a collaboration. MGM will recognize Yahoo sports as their official Digital Media Sports Partner. The Yahoo Sports app will facilitate sports betting on its site which will take place via the BetMGM platform. The integration will include soccer, golf, tennis, college sports, NHL, NBA, NFL and other sporting events.

Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media was quoted as saying, “The historic partnership with Yahoo Sports and BetMGM will change the future of fandom, providing new ways for sports fans to go beyond engaging with content and interact through commerce. At Verizon Media we believe in building products that connect consumers to their passions and drive the deepest end-to-end value possible.”

Yahoo Sports will host player events at MGM Resorts  and MGM will distribute Yahoo Sports content across its platforms and properties. Jim Murran, CEO of MGM Entertainment, said “This partnership marks an important moment for BetMGM in the growing U.S. sports betting sector. Integrating Yahoo’s leading fantasy sports operations and content with BetMGM’s world-class sports betting and interactive platform uniquely positions us to drive market share and large-scale adoption among sports fans.”

Leagues

MGM has already entered into partnerships with the NHL and the NBA. Commissioners of both leagues said that they are confident that the new Yahoo Sports partnership will benefit their fans. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, “As sports betting continues to transform the industry, this partnership brings together the power of two trusted partners of the NBA. By working together, MGM Resorts and Yahoo Sports will offer fans unprecedented ways to engage with our games.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said was also supportive. “The expanding sports betting landscape presents exciting opportunities to increase fan engagement and leverage emerging technologies. MGM Resorts, a valued partner of the NHL, along with Yahoo, a leading media brand, will connect fans to the action on the ice in new and innovative ways.”

Gaming Operators Waiting for the NFL to Come Calling

While the MLB, NHL and NBA have all started partnering with casino operators to facilitate sports betting on their games, the NFL has not yet announced any collaborative efforts for football sports betting.

“We haven’t opened up the category” said the NFL’s’ Chief Strategy and Growth officer Christopher Halpin. The NFL does partner with Caesars Entertainment which serves as the NFL’s official data provider to sportsbooks via Sportradar AG. However, currently it has no official sports betting partner.

According to Halpin, the league is considering experimenting with sportsbook partnerships in international markets before it makes any moves to do the same in the United States .“We’re being thoughtful and continuing to expand,” said Halpin.

American football is the most bet-upon professional sport and the NFL is the most widely wagered-upon league. Halpin said that the fans aren’t necessarily the bettors.  Only one-fifth of NFL fans place wagers, according to Halpin. Therefore, the league doesn’t want to alienate their fans by rushing into the sports betting market.

Operators Caesars, MGM Resorts International, Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel, William Hill and DraftKings  have become partners with professional U.S. baseball, hockey, basketball and soccer leagues, These partnerships generally involve agreements to share logos, trademarks and betting data to monitor integrity.

However, the NFL doesn’t think that jumping into the sports betting market is worth the cost.  “We get great engagement, we don’t need to integrate sports betting directly into that,” said Halpin. The NFL has noted that, despite the fact that multiple states have adopted sports betting legislation, sports betting is still not operational in most states and residents in states with legalized betting make up less than 20 percent of the U.S. population. The NFL reasons that, since mobile betting isn’t legal in even most of the states that have legal sports betting, there’s no reason for the league to rush to partner with the companies that offer such apps.

In effect,  NFL is already content with its share of the mass market audience. There’s no need for them to bring gambling into the scene, which will anger a larger percentage of their fans.

 

 

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