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MGM Resorts, Yahoo Sports sign sports betting partnership deal

Updated October 29, 2019 - 4:30 pm

A wide-ranging new partnership between subsidiaries of MGM Resorts International and Verizon Communications Inc. will result in a new sports betting collaboration on Yahoo Sports.

Yahoo Sports and BetMGM on Tuesday announced a digital media sports partnership that will begin next month and could provide sports wagering and fantasy sports games for Yahoo through MGM’s Roar Digital and new content experiences and live sports, including more than 20 high-profile events.

MGM will gain access to the 60 million U.S. users of the Yahoo Sports app.

As part of the multiyear partnership, the integration will launch in the Yahoo Sports app in November in the United States, with transactions to take place on the BetMGM platform. Yahoo Sports will be an official “Digital Media Sports Partner” of MGM Resorts.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The companies said content would include a variety of global sports, including the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, football, college sports, baseball, soccer, golf and tennis.

“This partnership marks an important moment for BetMGM in the growing U.S. sports betting sector,” MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said in a release announcing the deal. “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.”

Yahoo Sports is one of several brands under Verizon Media, a division of New York-based multinational telecommunications conglomerate Verizon Communications.

“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,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media. “At Verizon Media, we believe in building products that connect consumers to their passions and drive the deepest end-to-end value possible.”

Commissioners of the NBA and the NHL are supportive of the deal.

“As sports betting continues to transform the industry, this partnership brings together the power of two trusted partners of the NBA,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. “By working together, MGM Resorts and Yahoo Sports will offer fans unprecedented ways to engage with our games.”

Added NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, “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.”

Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based gaming and hospitality research firm Global Market Advisors, called the MGM-Yahoo deal “interesting.”

“You’re always going to bring interesting parties into the mix and I think this sort of starts down that path because while the partnership specifically is Yahoo and MGM, there’s obviously some sprinkling in off of how Verizon plays into this,” he said. “When you start going down that path, I think that’s when things start getting interesting.”

Bussmann said he believes new exposure of MGM among Yahoo users could potentially drive new sports-wagering dollars for the company, whether they be in existing markets or potential new jurisdictions such as Michigan, where the company operates MGM Detroit, or Ohio.

“There’s a lot of factors,” he said, “but obviously exposure helps drive that needle and you hope you create the right partnerships.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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