- The NFL has chosen Caesars Entertainment Corporation as its first-ever official casino sponsor, according to a news release.
- The multi-year partnership begins with the 2019 NFL playoffs, which begin on Jan. 5. Caesars will use its casino properties, celebrity chefs, musical artists and other entertainment elements to offer experiences for fans. However, the partnership does not include sports betting, daily fantasy sports (DFS) or hotels and resorts.
- Caesars will have exclusive rights to use NFL trademarks in the U.S. and U.K. and will promote its casino properties at NFL events, like the Super Bowl and NFL Draft. Seven NFL teams have relationships with Caesars, including the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting last May, analysts have predicted that it could open the door to new advertising opportunities for both media companies and sports leagues. However, the NFL has not embraced legalized gambling as readily as other pro sports. Choosing an official gaming partner, even without the inclusion of sports betting or DFS, shows that the NFL is now taking steps to embrace gambling in order to connect with fans.
The NFL may see the tie-in with Caesars as a way to heighten excitement ahead of the playoffs and Super Bowl, one of the most popular sports events of the year. The league saw a 19% drop in ad revenue in the September-October period and a 6% drop in the number of 30-second commercial spots, according to Standard Media Index. Broadcast revenue fell 7%, while cable grew 5%. This season, the NFL has expanded access to games on digital platforms, and in the first four weeks of the season, experienced a 65% increase in digital viewership over 2017, according to the league.
Professional sports leagues are delving partnerships with brands to increase revenue and bring memorable, one-of-a-kind experiences to fans, especially as fans are generally seeking out sports content on digital platforms. The NFL’s new partnership with Caesars is in line with that trend, and the announcement makes it the latest U.S. professional sports league to team up with a gaming sponsor.
Both the NBA and MLB have announced partnerships with MGM Resorts. MGM will leverage the leagues’ official statistics and include MLB and team logos in advertising and MGM sportsbooks. MGM will also advertise on MLB and NBA digital platforms.