The American Gaming Association (AGA) has welcomed the National Football League (NFL) becoming the last of the four major US sports leagues to partner with a gambling operator following its deal with Caesars Entertainment.
On Thursday the American football competition announced that Caesars has become its official casino sponsor. The multi-year agreement will focus on Caesars promoting its casino properties and other entertainment resources to NFL fans.
The AGA said the deal illustrated the benefits of commercial partnerships between sports rights holders and gambling operators. The trade body is opposed to legislative plans supported by the major professional sports leagues, including the NFL, that would force operators to pay so-called integrity fees.
“The NFL’s official partnership with Caesars Entertainment is a perfect example of the value of contractual relationships between leagues and the casino gaming industry,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA.
“The partnerships now in place between gaming companies and each of the four major American sports leagues enrich the fan experience and validate gaming’s role as a form of mainstream entertainment.”
The National Basketball Association (NBA) became the first major league to partner with a gambling operator when it teamed up with MGM in July. Since then the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) have also agreed deals with operators.
The NFL is the biggest betting sport in the US, accounting for around a third of handle in New Jersey since wagering was introduced in June.
A Nielsen Sports report commissioned by the AGA last year estimated that the NFL could boost its annual revenue by $2.3bn (£1.78bn/€1.98bn) per year should it embrace the commercial opportunities provided by widely available, legal, regulated US sports betting.
According to Nielsen Sports, greater fan engagement and viewership could boost the NFL’s total annual revenue from media rights, sponsorships, merchandise and ticket sales by 13.4%, producing $1.75bn in new revenue from increased consumption of the league’s products.
An additional $92m in sponsorship revenue and $30m in data is also projected for the league and its teams.
A number of NFL teams have partnered with operators since the Dallas Cowboys became the first franchise to seal a sponsorship deal with a casino, WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma, in September 2018.