US Sports Leagues Embrace A New World

By Ben Hamill - December 07 2018

US Sports Leagues

A gold rush. This is how Sharon Otterman, Chief Marketing Officer for major bookmaker William Hill, describes the scramble by professional sports leagues to get a spot on the sports betting bus. These are the very same leagues that had previously been relentless in their opposition of the prospect of placing legal wagers on pro-sports.

But that all changed in June when sports betting was officially legalized in the US. And now, it seems as if everyone wants a decent helping of the sponsorships pie.

A 360 Turn-Around

Recent developments include the NBA partnering with Sportradar and Genius Sports to make available National Basketball Association data to participating service providers in the United States. The news broke only a day after the Major Basketball League had agreed to do the same for MGM Resorts, with MGM now its official gambling partner in the US and Japan.

This is not the first major endorsement deal entered into by MGM. The group has struck similar deals with the NBA, WNBA, and the NHL. What’s more, a similar deal has been secured with the New York Jets. This particular agreement will ensure the promotion of its properties as well as its mobile betting apps, to fans of the Jets.

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PASPA Strike-Down Changed Everything

According to National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver, it’s all about adapting to a changing landscape. Silver said that the sports betting landscape was evolving at a dizzying pace and that by combining forces, fans would be ensured of the best possible gaming experience thanks to having the latest and most up-to-date data at their immediate disposal.

VP and Head of Fantasy And Gaming for the NBA, Scott Kaufman-Ross, expressed the notion that whatever anyone’s feelings about legalized sports betting and how it all comes together in a workable relationships with sports leagues, it will ultimately be a much healthier situation to be involved in a regulated market than to be at the mercy of an unregulated one.

Everything changed when New Jersey won a Supreme Court case earlier this year. The strike-down of PASPA enabled all US states to offer sports betting services in a legal and controlled manner. So far, 7 US states have passed new laws, with many more regions expected to follow suit in 2019.

NJ Sets the Tone

It was no easy road for the state of New Jersey. Fierce opposition on the part of all four major sports leagues turned the fight into protracted one. According to MGM CEO Jim Murren, the change of heart on the parts of the sports leagues has most probably been brought about by the fact that everyone realized that they needed everyone else.

A change of attitude was obviously the only way to achieve a successful outcome.

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