New York Rangers Sign Sponsorship Deal with WSOP Online Gambling Site
The New York Rangers became the latest pro sports team to sign deals with an online gambling website on Tuesday. The Rangers signed a deal with WSOP.com, a website owned by Caesars Entertainment and affiliated with New Jersey online gambling.
Part of the contract allows the gambling website to “share in the database marketing opportunities”, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Having a potential customer base which whom to market is important to gambling companies. For instance, when the Atlantic Club Casino was bought in bankruptcy court by Tropicana and Caesars, the rival companies split up assets like the hotel, slot machines, tables games–and one of them gave up assets to receive the customer list. The recent interstate iPoker compact between Nevada and Delaware was about sharing player databases.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Those terms are likely to be minor in nature, but the Rangers’ connection to the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden could forshadow a much larger commercial partnership.
WSOP Online will have a “brand presence” at Rangers’s hockey matches in Madison Square Garden. Also, WSOP.com will have a promotional sweepstakes in which four grand prize winners are set to be visited at their homes by former Rangers. These hockey players will watch the Rangers’ final home game with the fans on April 12.
Another part of the deal lets people who enter the bonus code “KNICKS” at CaesarsCasino.com to have a chance to win a Knicks team jersey. Though the New York Knicks were not named as a party to the sponsorship deal, the Knicks and Rangers are both owned by the Madison Square Garden Corp.
Devils/76ers and PartyPoker
Previously, the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers signed corporate sponsorship deals nearly three months ago. In January, the Devils and the Sixers signed deals with PartyPoker, which is owned by Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc out of Gibraltar. The Devils and 76ers are owned by Josh Harris, who co-founded Apollo Global Management LLC.
The corporate deal was signed because New Jersey had legalized online casino and poker gambling, and Bwin.Party was set to partner with an Atlantic City casino to bring legal gaming to people in New Jersey. Sports betting is not legal online in the state.
International Gaming Sponsorships
Bwin is a sponsor for Manchester United. 188Bet is listed as a partner of the Liverpool Football Club. 32Red sponsors billboards at English Premier League ground, which appear on television. 32Red also kits the Aston Villa Football Club. Such corporate sponsorships can cause a backlash at times, though.
Australian Furor over Gambling Ads
In Australia in 2013, anti-gaming groups began to advocate for the removal of all gaming companies of sponsorships in the National Rugby League. These calls came after bookmaker Tom Waterhouse appeared on NRL broadcasts, giving live gaming odds during his analysis of games.
Some critics even compared online gambling advertisements to the cigarette ads which were removed from NRL broadcasts in the early 1990’s. Australians complained their children were watching broadcasts, and therefore should be protected from the temptation to gamble. Such calls went unheeded, though laws were passed to limit when such gaming commercials could be aired.
Of course, Australia is the most saturated gaming market in the world. It was estimated by USA Today recently that there is one gaming machine in the country for every 108 Australians–a number surpassed only by the tiny French principality of Monaco, home to Monte Carlo. With slot machines (pokies) in many clubs, pubs, and other establishments, problem gambling has reached new levels in Australia, so their viewing public is a bit more sensitive on the subject than Americans.
American Gaming Sponsorship
While online gaming companies might be wise to limit their exposure to the American broadcast audience, the current wave of NHL and NBA sponsorships are seen only by the fans in the arenas. The advertisements might be seen in local and national broadcasts, but these appear in all sports. Only those whose interest is piqued ever know what these names mean.
In that way, the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and Philadelphia 76ers deals are more like what goes on in the English Premier League football stadiums. Given that New Jersey recently legalized online casino gambling and iPoker in their state, all three sports franchises are partnered with teams which advertise and have a deep-rooted fandom in the New Jersey market. At the moment, gambling is on the rise in the Garden State, so the commercials should hit their target.
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