The NFL has joined the rest of the major American sports leagues in embracing the gaming industry by signing a deal with Caesars Entertainment, though the partnership won’t see the league cozying up to sportsbooks.
On Thursday, the NFL announced that it was partnering with Caesars, making the global gaming giant the official casino sponsor of the NFL.
Caesars Gains Access to NFL Trademarks
The press release announcing the deal didn’t specify the terms of the arrangement. However, an Associated Press report cited sources as saying that it is a three-year deal worth $30 million annually.
The partnership will allow Caesars to exclusively use valuable NFL trademarks, such as the name “Super Bowl,” in both the United States and United Kingdom. Caesars will also be able to advertise and promote its properties at NFL events, including the NFL draft and the playoffs, beginning this weekend.
In a statement, NFL Senior Vice President of Partnerships, Sponsorship and Consumer Products Renie Anderson said that the deal should “provide our fans unique experiences both here in the United States and abroad.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with one of the world’s largest gaming and entertainment companies,” Anderson said.
Deal Doesn’t Include Sports Betting
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the agreement is the fact that it doesn’t touch on sports betting at all. In fact, the NFL made sure to point this out in their press release, noting that while the league and seven of its teams now have relationships with Caesars Entertainment, they are all limited in scope.
“These partnerships … are for the Casino category only and does not include sports betting, daily fantasy or hotels/resorts,” the statement read.
That puts the NFL in a different position than the other three major professional sports leagues in the United States. The NBA, MLB, and NHL have all reached partnerships with MGM Resorts International that specifically include benefits related to sports betting. All three give MGM the ability to use official league data at the firm’s sportsbooks, as well as the right to utilize league logos and other marks at those locations.
But that is hardly a surprise given the NFL’s stance on sports betting. While all four leagues joined the NCAA in opposing New Jersey’s attempts to regulate sports wagering, the NBA, MLB, and NHL have expressed a level of comfort with legalized betting since the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional in May.
NFL Gaming Sponsorship Policy Explained
Meanwhile, the NFL has taken a more conservative approach. League rules have been loosened somewhat when it comes to the gaming industry as a whole, but teams are still prohibited from advertising sportsbooks.
Specifically, teams are now allowed to accept advertising from casinos and fantasy sports operators who also offer sports betting services, as long as they do not specifically promote their sportsbooks. Teams are also now allowed to sell their stadium naming rights to casinos – a move that could eventually impact multiple teams, but seems most likely to come into play when the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
Those policies were changed in response to the Supreme Court ruling in May. That wasn’t so much a concession towards embracing sports betting, but rather an acknowledgement that the spread of legalized wagering meant that casinos in many states would soon have sportsbooks – severely limiting which casinos and resorts NFL teams would be able to partner with under the old rules.
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