A historic event occurred in May 2018 when, following a sustained campaign by a number of States and led by New Jersey, the US Supreme Court ruled that sports betting should become legal in the country. However, it was to be left to the discretion of individual States as to whether it should be allowed under their jurisdiction. Fortunately, in the case of Pennsylvania, it was just a year when sports betting became legal on 31st May 2019. While more and more states are now pushing through their own laws, in Pennsylvania it is now well established.
Another phenomenon that has followed hot on the heels of this change in the law has been the arrival of a number of partnership and sponsorship deals that have started to be struck between many of Philly’s sports teams and their new gambling partners.
Taking off with the Eagles
Perhaps the highest profile of these has involved, not surprisingly, the Philadelphia Eagles who have joined forces with Unibet, the global betting company that is headquartered in Malta.
There are a number of strands to the deal including permanent branding on the newly built northwestern suites at Lincoln Financial Fields as well as on the highly visible digital billboard and scoreboard, the Eagle Nest Tower. Unibet also get additional exposure on a range of digital and print material as well as on the official philadelphiaeagles.com website. Because current NFL rules continue to forbid any teams under their jurisdiction from promoting sports betting, this is being taken into account with regards to the messaging that is displayed.
To further facilitate sports betting and online gambling in Philadelphia, Unibet have also drawn up a partnership with Mohegan Sun Pocono.
The 76ers join in too
Where football goes, basketball tends to follow hot on its heels. So it comes as no surprise that the Philadelphia 76ers have also drawn up a potentially very beneficial partnership with another betting organization, Fox Bet.
Under the agreement, that involves an undisclosed sum, the latter receives exclusive access to a number of marketing and other opportunities. For example, they have become the exclusive sponsor of all home games broadcast on the radio. They also sponsor the now-famous Hype Video that is shown at the Wells Fargo Center as games head into the fourth quarter. They can also advertise on signs around the stadium as well as on digital and social media.
To give the initiative even more weight, Fox Bet are being supported by the giant Canadian gaming experts, The Stars Group. The former has also been put into an even better position as the NBA has named them as authorized sports betting operator with full rights to access and use official league data.
Off to a flying start
Moving on to the ice now, the Philadelphia Flyers have also had some very good news which, hopefully, will go some way towards making up for the disappointment the team and its fans felt when they fell agonizingly short of qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs, courtesy of the New York Islanders.
This deal is a little different from the previous examples in that it involves a direct tie-up with Sugarhouse Casino and its online counterpart. These have become the official sportsbook partners of both the team and of the Wells Fargo Center. Their partnership will take a particularly visible form as part of the agreement is to decorate and brand two high tech VIP lounges where no less than 100 screens will be showing sports of every kind. To create brand synergy, these lounges will follow the design aesthetic of the Sugarhouse Casino itself.
Kicking off for Philadelphia Union
Last, but by no means least, there is the Philadelphia Union deal. As the fastest-growing sport in the country, linking up to a soccer team was a good choice for Parx Casino who have become the official casino partners. They are now the presenting partner at the half-time show at home matches as well as having a very visible presence on the Toyota Plaza at the Talen Energy Stadium on match days. Due to the growing popularity of street soccer, the Parx teams also go out into the public to help spread the word and encourage them to download the Union app.
Of course, these sorts of partnerships aren’t exclusive to Philadelphia – but the whole state’s growing interest in online casinos and other gambling opportunities has certainly helped things along. For a similar example, one only has to look to Colorado which legalized sports betting at around the same time as Pennsylvania. However, the Denver Broncos have been even more successful in their quest for sponsors and partners by snapping up no less than three – the FanDuel Group, Betfred and BetMGM.
But, returning to Pennsylvania – and Philadelphia in particular – these partnerships are set not just to work to the advantage of the teams, they’re a very good development for the fans too. That’s because they promise to provide even greater access to news and information about the teams, as well as also making it easier and more attractive to bet on them.
The other good news is that these are likely to be long-lasting deals which will provide the additional support and exposure that all teams need not just to survive, but to thrive long into the future too.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre
Liam is a 24-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
You can contact him here: Phillysportsnetwork@gmail.com