Caesars Entertainment Corp. is playing ball with sports teams.
The gaming giant announced Tuesday that it had signed a multi-year partnership to promote its sports betting book and mobile app during New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers home games.
Caesars’ deal with Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, whose portfolio includes the two professional teams as well as the Prudential Center, is not exclusive. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
The sports betting partnership is the first announced by Caesars since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law in May that banned wagering in most states. The deal also comes on the heels of an agreement announced Monday between the NHL and MGM Resorts International, Caesars’ largest U.S. rival by rooms. MGM Resorts also signed a partnership with the NBA in July.
Michael Marino, Caesars’ senior vice president of marketing and chief experience officer, said the company is pursuing more sports betting deals with professional teams it has ticketing relationships with as more states legalize wagering.
Caesars has ticketing partnerships with about 20 professional teams, he said. As for sports betting partnerships with leagues similar to the ones signed by MGM Resorts, Caesars is studying “what makes sense,” he said.
Other U.S. gaming giants have yet to sign partnerships with either leagues or teams.
Caesars will have the right to advertise on Prudential Center’s 80 digital boards and 4,800-square-foot outdoor screen during Devils home games. As part of the deal, the center’s 5,000 square-foot bar and restaurant will be rebranded as Caesars Club.
Sportsbook operator William Hill signed a deal this month with Harris Blitzer to create a branded lounge at the Prudential Center. William Hill will also advertise on the dasherboards during Devils home games.
Caesars will work “as fast as (it) can” to rebrand the club, said Marino, without giving a specific opening date. The club will try to incentivize customers to visit other Caesars properties, such as those in nearby Atlantic City or Las Vegas, with various promotions, he said.
The success of the clubs and lounges will depend on how well the sports betting experience is integrated, said Chris Grove, managing director for emerging verticals at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
“If it’s a bar and restaurant with the sportsbook experience lingering on the periphery, then I don’t see a sustainable model here. But if the sportsbook experience is woven through the club — localized promotions, screens with betting information overlaid on sports events, dedicated support staff — then I think you’ve got an intriguing asset,” said Grove.
Caesars will also host special events during Devils home games to further drum up its sports betting business, including a company-branded Shoot for a Million on-ice promotion that will allow one fan to vie for $1 million during 10 regular season games.
“We want to make it an engaging experience for the customer,” Marino said.
Caesars will not have a branded spot in the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers play their home games. The deal with the basketball franchise will be of a smaller scale and feature digital advertisement inside the center.
However, 76ers fans will have the chance to win complimentary stays at Caesars properties in New Jersey and Las Vegas during online and in-game contests.
Irwin Raij, co-chair of the sports group at international law firm O’Melveny and Myers, said he expects teams and gaming companies to continue to come up with “new and funky” ways to capture fan attention during games to make the partnership profitable.