Tigers Become First MLB Team To Sign Sports Betting Sponsor
The Tigers are the first MLB team and first Michigan sports franchise to land a sports betting sponsor, locking down Australian-based PointsBet in advance of the launch of online sports wagering later this year. The sponsorship includes TV-visible signs on Comerica Park’s main scoreboard and right field wall, advertising on the Tigers radio broadcasts and digital platform and integration into a twice-weekly show that streams on Tigers.com, all beginning when the season opens later this month. PointsBet also has signed on as an authorized gaming operator of MLB, gaining access to official league data and league and club marks. MLB clubs can only promote league-authorized operators. Financial terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed. Though PointsBet operates in New Jersey, Indiana and Iowa and is well-positioned to launch in Illinois in the coming months, this is the first U.S. team deal for the brand. It enters the market with lower brand awareness than many of its competitors, including legacy DFS brands FanDuel and DraftKings and land-based casino MGM Grand. The deal with the Tigers gives PointsBet the MLB season to increase awareness ahead of its launch.
FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNERSHIP: PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said, “We’ve looked at 20 or 30 team deals, and they really do need to make sense … in terms of the investment in the assets you’re receiving, but there also has to be a symbiotic partnership between PointsBet and the franchise. Coming into a market and associating ourselves with a storied franchise like the Tigers did make sense for us. But it is a case-by-case basis and, more often than not, with team deals we can’t get that sort of return on investment.” Though sportsbooks typically offer nearly identical products, PointsBet has differentiated itself as the only U.S. site to offer bettors the chance to win, or lose, more based on how easily their selections cover the spread, or how much they fall short. Along with building awareness, PointsBet hopes to use the sponsorship to expose baseball fans to the sort of bets that only it offers. “Being really creative and having those unique points of difference, that ultimately is what will win in the market,” Aitken said. “There’s no doubt FanDuel and DraftKings have stolen an early lead. But they should have. They’ve invested a lot of money in their brands and PointsBet has invested 1/100 of that, if not less. We truly believe the best products will win.”
MICHIGAN PROJECTED AS BIG MARKET: Michigan is expected to be one of the nation’s larger and more competitive sports betting markets, with licenses and sub-licenses set up to accommodate at least 15 sportsbook sites. Its legislature authorized sports betting in December. PointsBet gained access to the state through a deal with a tribal casino in January. “It’s a state (where) we do want to test being ahead of the game when it comes to branding and we really want to drive that forward brand awareness,” Aitken said. “So from day one when clients can actually place a legal online sports bet, there’s that built-in trust and credibility of the PointsBet brand.”