As sports betting becomes more and more prominent across the US, there are many lucrative opportunities for professional sports teams to partner with sportsbooks.
As of April 2023, two professional sports teams in Massachusetts have done just that.
Now that sports betting in Massachusetts is a reality, here is a rundown of the current landscape of sports betting agreements with teams in the Commonwealth.
Boston Red Sox and BetMGM
Earlier this year the Boston Red Sox struck a deal with BetMGM Sportsbook. The sports betting operator became an official partner of the team in early March, a month after retail sports betting became legal in the state and a few days before mobile sports betting went live.
It is the first-ever deal for BetMGM with a Massachusetts sports team.
Highlights of the partnership between BetMGM Massachusetts and the Red Sox include:
- BetMGM signage featured at Fenway Park.
- A BetMGM suite at the field.
- Co-branded content on digital and social media platforms.
- VIP fan experiences such as premium seats and access to batting practice.
- Responsible gaming initiatives and public service campaigns.
The Red Sox also has a partnership for daily fantasy sports-related promotions with Boston-based DraftKings.
Boston Bruins and FanDuel
On the same day that online sports betting became legal in Massachusetts, FanDuel announced a multiyear partnership with the Boston Bruins. The deal makes FanDuel an official sports betting partner with the team and gives Massachusetts fans generous bonus bets when they sign up for FanDuel Massachusetts.
Details of the partnership include:
- FanDuel use of Boston Bruins’ marks.
- The sportsbooks’ signage inside TD Garden on dasher boards.
- Co-branded content on the team’s website and social media platforms.
- Exclusive fan content.
- Responsible gaming campaigns and in-app tools for setting wager, deposit, and time limits.
DraftKings DFS partnerships
Before sports betting became legal in Massachusetts, the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Bruins and Red Sox entered multiyear daily fantasy sports (DFS) partnerships with DraftKings.
In the deals, DraftKings Massachusetts provides promotions on the teams’ social media platforms, web-based content and more. The company is also an official sports betting partner of the NBA, NHL and NFL.
However, DraftKings has stopped short of entering sports betting partnerships with the Celtics, Patriots or any MA pro team.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins discussed some of the reasoning behind the lack of local sports betting partnerships, and why the company is choosing to focus on national marketing campaigns instead.
“That’s something that we’re looking at because we think there’s a lot of inefficiency in there,” Robbins said in a YouTube interview with Joe Pompliano last month. “So, there are some great deals and great partners. There’s also some deals that they would work, they just need to be the right size. And there’s some other deals that just really aren’t working. I think that’s always something we look at, but there’s a different level of scrutiny now, and also the market has changed. The pricing of media has gone down. So, naturally, other marketing sorts of deals are following suit.”
In short, DraftKings is scaling back on partnerships with sports teams and leagues because the company feels that the deals are inefficient. In an analyst call, Robbins also indicated that the company would discontinue some existing partnerships. Currently, DraftKings has sports betting agreements with over a half dozen pro teams.
Of note, DraftKings is the only legal sportsbook operator in the state that ran a Massachusetts-focused TV ad when sports wagering became legal.
New England Revolution
The state’s pro soccer team, the New England Revolution does not have a sports betting or DFS partnership.
On the league level, it is a different story. Major League Soccer entered a multiyear deal with MGM Resorts in 2019, making the operator the league’s official gaming partner. MGM Resorts is the parent company of BetMGM.
The deal also includes an agreement with Roar Digital to provide enhanced data for sports betting customers.
Sportsbooks still without partnerships
In Massachusetts, only FanDuel and BetMGM have inked sports betting deals with pro teams.
These platforms have not made sports betting partnership agreements:
- Caesars Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Betr (April 2023 launch)
- Fanatics Sportsbook (May 2023 launch)
- Bally Bet (May 2023 launch)
- Betway (January 2024 launch)
Since Massachusetts is still in the infancy stages of legal sports betting, it remains to be seen if operators will follow the trend of DraftKings to scale back in pursuing team partnerships, or take a wait-and-see approach as the industry matures in the Commonwealth.
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