NBA guides teams on gambling sponsorships, kiosks
Editor’s note: This story is revised from the print edition.
Don’t look for any wagering kiosks in NBA arenas any time soon based on the league’s gambling guidelines that it sent to all 30 teams after the Supreme Court’s decision last month to legalize statewide sports betting.
According to some NBA team executives familiar with the guidelines, teams, at least initially, won’t have any such kiosks. Teams will be allowed to sell gambling-related sponsorships, but those deals must be approved by the league, and, notably, gambling must be legal in the team’s state for a team to sign any gambling-related sponsorships. The league has not yet determined whether teams can sell sponsorships to out-of-state gambling-related companies.
“It has to be legal in the team’s state and we’ve tried to structure something where teams will be able to have partnerships,” said Amy Brooks, president of team marketing and business operations and chief innovation officer for the NBA, adding that the league will evaluate any potential deals to ensure that any gambling operators associated with the NBA are taking necessary precautions to protect the integrity of the league.
Brooks elaborated on more details that haven’t been disclosed, such as teams will not be able to offer casinos the visible jersey patch deals.
“What they cannot sell is assets that are closely associated with the players, such as the jersey patch,” she said. “They cannot allow fans to bet in-arena and things like that. We know this is very rapidly changing and we wanted to make sure our teams were aware of what they are able to do.”
■ SELLING SEASON: The Finals come during a key part of the NBA’s season-ticket selling efforts. Heading into the offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks are among the teams with the highest number of new full-season-ticket sales, Brooks said.
Other teams that rank among the top tier of new season-ticket sales include the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans.
But it’s the Bucks, who this fall open their new downtown Milwaukee arena, that are particularly notable. The team has sold more than 2,100 new full-season tickets and are on track to have a full-season-ticket base of at least 10,000, which would be a first for the 50-year-old franchise.
The Bucks have sold all but one of their 33 suites, ranging in price from $175,000 to $350,000, and all of their 33 loft premium-seating products that range in price from $80,000 to $175,000.
The push in season-ticket sales comes as the team this year has an average ticket price increase of 12 percent as the Bucks move into their new arena, which is not yet officially named beyond its placeholder: Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center.
“The tricky part is that we launched renewals without [season-ticket holders] having the ability to see the arena,” said Jamie Morningstar, senior vice president of ticket sales and service for the Bucks. With the arena nearly complete, the Bucks are inviting potential buyers into their new building, which is helping boost interest.
■ BRANDING BITS: With YouTube TV making a big branding splash around this year’s Finals as the NBA’s first presenting sponsor of the championship series, league executives are looking to broaden the relationship.
“We will continue to have conversations about what more we can do together,” said Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president of global partnerships for the NBA.
YouTube TV’s Finals activation included logo integration on the court and 30- and 60-second spots during the games that use real-time game footage.
Look for more YouTube TV NBA-related activation as the multiyear agreement also includes presenting sponsorships of the WNBA and G League finals.
■ NUMBERS GAME: How popular is Steph Curry? Youth sports organizations in the Bay Area have given up on deciding who gets to wear Curry’s No. 30 by simply getting rid of jerseys with those digits. “Every kid in the Bay Area wanted to wear No. 30, and not having a No. 30 was easier than figuring out what kid got to wear No. 30,” said Rick Welts, Warriors president and chief operating officer. “Little league after little league has made that decision.”