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Volume 26 No. 203
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NFL Policy Change Allows Teams To Sell Sportsbook Sponsorships

NFL teams will now be permitted to sell full-fledged sportsbook sponsorships following a change in policy by the league. After months of study and approval by its Sports Betting Committee, the NFL is advising clubs on Friday that they can now sell official sportsbook sponsorships within their home markets. Rules on activating those sponsorships have also loosened up, so teams can now sell venue signage to sportsbooks and accept sportsbook advertising on team websites. Teams also now will be able to designate companies as their “official sportsbook partner.” The league still will not allow betting windows, parlors or betting kiosks in stadiums. The league also will prohibit sportsbooks from doing naming rights on stadiums or team practice facilities, and advertising on team-controlled broadcasts and shoulder programming. Active coaches and players also will not be allowed in sportsbook ads. The league is also not permitting lower-bowl signage in an attempt to prevent TV visibility. Sportsbooks will be able to have team-branded areas away from the stadiums.

VALUE DEAL: NFL Exec VP and Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Chris Halpin, who oversees the league’s gambling policies, along with its Sports Betting Committee, said, “Our marks and brands have real value for that business, and the sportsbook operators are very savvy about how to use them, especially digitally.” Halpin said the NFL will not immediately be pursuing a league-wide sportsbook deal, noting legal sports betting is still a regional business. Research commissioned by the NFL showed that fans 21 and older opposed to betting and those practicing legal wagering were about the same size: 15-20% of the league's fan base. Halpin: “We’re going to test and see what the learnings are from the teams. There are four key objectives for the NFL when it comes to legal sports betting: integrity, brand, fan engagement, and commercial opportunity. The right balance is allowing clubs to create meaningful partnerships, while not taking unneeded brand risks or alienating some fans." Jaguars Owner Shad Khan chairs the NFL’s Sports Betting Committee, and it also includes Cowboys Exec VP & Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson, Buccaneers co-Chair Joel Glazer, Patriots President Jonathan Kraft, Dolphins Owner Steven Ross, Giants President & CEO John Mara and Bears Chair George McCaskey.