The NHL has gained MGM Resorts as its first official sports betting partner.
An announcement made October 29th, shared details of the NHL’s multi-year partnership with MGM Resorts. Commissioner of the NHL Gary Bettman and MGM CEO Jim Murren publicly revealed the deal in the last few days of October at a New York City press conference. The deal would allow MGM to access private internal data on players and games which MGM claims can be used to better engage fans, provide game insights, and offer competitive odds for bettors.
Domestic sports betting is relatively new as of mid-2018 and few leagues understand how to navigate the space. The NHL’s partnership with MGM would allow the Resort to guide the league through these turbulent waters and better align themselves with the needs of those interested in betting. This would include tweaking the league’s marketing, promotional, and engagement strategies to target bettors without alienating fans.
As Bettman said during the partnership announcement “[MHM is] a leading global gaming operator and entertainment company [and thus] MGM Resorts is the perfect partner for us to begin our transformative entry into this space.” However, the NHL is not the only one to benefit from the partnership, MGM Resorts will be able to utilize the NHL’s technology and exclusive data rights, as well as, market their own hotels and rewards programs during NHL events, games, and directly to NHL fans through email and social.
In return, MGM Resorts will be required to use official NHL branding to express their new partnership throughout MGM’s land-based betting shops and online sportsbooks in the US. The branding requirements obviously are not extended to any other sportsbooks, including US-friendly offshore sportsbooks, who can still carry odds on NHL games and events but will not have access to the data specifically provided by the league.
Murren added to Bettman’s statement by saying, “Combining MGM Resorts’ world-class sports betting operations and technology with the NHL’s top-level competition, iconic brands and cutting-edge data will further transform the rapidly growing sports betting marketplace and solidify our position at the forefront of the industry.”, which has excited fans for new things to come from their favorite league.
This interweaved partnership may also shift bettor’s focus from other sports to NHL content and games if MGM can provide unique and full-range wagering options to keep them enticed. MGM Resorts’ partnership with the NHL comes three months after MGM signed a partnership deal with the NBA to be their official sports betting partner.