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Volume 25 No. 177

Marketing and Sponsorship

The NBA has signed a third gaming partnership, and second in just a week, aligning with longtime partner FanDuel in a new multiyear agreement. The league has expanded its partnership with FanDuel, its official daily fantasy partner since ’14, to make the Paddy Power Betfair subsidiary also an authorized gaming operator of the league. FanDuel will have access to official NBA betting data, as well as league marks and logos, similar to the deal the NBA recently signed with Toronto-based online gaming company The Stars Group. The NBA, which had been the first pro league to partner with FanDuel, earlier this year divested the equity it previously held in the company following Paddy Power Betfair’s acquisition of FanDuel. But in the new deal structure, FanDuel will continue to operate the official daily fantasy games of the NBA and WNBA, mobile-based fantasy games and operate in the newly expanded sports betting landscape in partnership with the league. “We have a long history with FanDuel, and are pleased to still be working with them,” said NBA Head of Fantasy & Gaming Scott Kaufman-Ross. “We now partnered with a major casino operator in MGM, and internationally based outfit in The Stars Group, and a daily fantasy operator in FanDuel. These are each key categories of operators we were looking to address.”

BEING AGGRESSIVE: Both NBA and FanDuel expect a large amount of cross-marketing and data interplay between DFS activity through the company and sports betting. “Because of their presence in DFS, that definitely opens the door for all sorts of creative approaches,” Kaufman-Ross said. FanDuel has also been a particularly active player in recent months in New Jersey, one of the key early states for legal sports betting activity. The trio of gaming deals in less than five months highlights the NBA’s continued aggressiveness in the fast-emerging space, and more deals with additional gaming operators are expected.

Citizens Bank may choose to change name of '19 bowl since Franklin American Mortgage no longer exists
Photo: getty images

Franklin American Mortgage's title sponsorship of the Music City Bowl "will end" in '19 following Citizens Bank's acquisition of the mortgage company in August, according to Mike Organ of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Citizens Bank is "contractually obligated to remain the title sponsor" for the game this year and in '19, but "may choose to change the name of the bowl since Franklin American Mortgage is no longer in existence." Citizens Bank officials "have given bowl officials the go-ahead to find a new title sponsor" beyond '19. Citizens Bank is "interested in remaining involved in the sponsorship of the bowl in some capacity, but not at such a high level." Music City Bowl President & CEO Scott Ramsey said his team is "in the marketplace right now and starting to look" for a new title sponsor. Franklin American Mortgage "took over as the bowl's title sponsor from Gaylord Hotels" in '10 (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 12/18).

JOB WELL DONE: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel noted Mitsubishi Motors’ presence at Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl as the title sponsor "was a major splash for the car manufacturer." Under the first year of a two-year deal with ESPN, Mitsubishi "practically had a mini dealership at Sam Boyd Stadium with no less than 19 vehicles on site." A fan who "entered a Mitsubishi sweepstakes online won a contest to sit on a platform on the field that also showcased the Outlander model on the sidelines in a corner of the field." Mitsubishi Motors Senior Dir & CMO Francine Harsini said that the company "brought 300 of its dealers to Las Vegas, and those 300 brought another 150 guests." Harsini said that under the title sponsorship, Mitsubishi "received 200 tickets and purchased another 200 and have two full sections." There was also a "large Mitsubishi Motors social tent behind one of the end zones, while the company name and log appeared on the field at the 25-yard lines" (, 12/15).

M&M's is “returning to the Super Bowl with its fifth Big Game spot in the past decade,” according to Poggi & Wohl of AD AGE. The 30-second spot, by BBDO, N.Y., will “air during the first commercial break following the kick-off of Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.” A Mars spokesperson “declined to provide specifics on the creative, which products it might promote, or any celebrity appearances.” M&M's appeared in Super Bowl LII in ‘18 for the “first time in three years with a humorous spot starring Danny DeVito.” In recent years, Mars has used the Super Bowl to “promote its other brands, Snickers and Skittles” (, 12/18).

Las Vegas-based Credit One Bank has "cut a multi-year founding partnership" with the newly re-branded Triple-A PCL Las Vegas Aviators, according to Alan Snel of There will be "strong Credit One Bank presence and signage" at the team's new $150M ballpark scheduled to open in April. Credit One sees the Aviators and the 10,000-seat ballpark as a "'foundational property' in Las Vegas and looks to continue its double-digit annual growth." Credit One will "use the new ballpark in Summerlin to increase its credit card and business while also even using the venue to recruit job prospects for openings in marketing, risk management and IT." Credit One will now be the "official credit card of the Aviators." The deal is "part of Credit One's growing sports sponsorship portfolio, which includes a healthy chunk of presence" at Golden Knights games with a center ice logo. Credit One Bank is also the "official credit card of NASCAR and the Big 12" (, 12/17).