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Caesars becomes exclusive partner of Michigan State University sports

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Michigan State University’s (MSU) athletic department has named Caesars Sportsbook the exclusive betting partner of MSU Spartans sports.
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With the deal, Caesars said it will “gain significant exposure” by gaining access to MSU sports assets such as TV signage during basketball games, appearances in broadcast and digital content and naming rights to a “premium seating area” in the MSU American football team’s Spartan Stadium.

In addition, a number of MSU-related hospitality assets and VIP experiences will be available through its loyalty programme.

As well as a direct payment for the exposure, Caesars will also provide MSU with “annual funds to support student-athlete responsible gaming education, student scholarships, as well as internship and professional development opportunities for MSU students pursuing a career in the sports industry”.

“Michigan State has a proud tradition of excellence and partnering with an internationally recognised brand in college athletics is a great opportunity for us,” Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Digital, said. “The Spartan fan base and alumni network is passionate and well-established across the country.

“We look forward to building upon our connection with them while strengthening the legacy we hold in the state of Michigan and advancing scholarship opportunities through this partnership.”

This deal was facilitated by Playfly Sports, which owns the third-party multimedia rights to MSU sports.

“The rapidly expanding interest around gaming in the college space has pushed us to create strategic opportunities for our college properties that not only provide impactful gaming education resources but also significant opportunities to drive new sources of revenue,” said Christy Hedgpeth, president of Playfly Sports Properties. “Connecting Caesars’ iconic brand to MSU’s passionate community of students, fans and alumni is a perfect fit and another example of how partnerships like this are creating tremendous benefits for all parties involved.”

The deal is the latest between a betting operator and a college sports programme. PointsBet became the first operator to partner with a Power Five collegiate sports team after signing a deal with the University of Colorado Buffaloes in 2020.

Caesars then stepped into the space last year by partnering with Louisiana State University (LSU) Athletics, in a deal that Caesars described as the first involving a “perennial powerhouse” and the first deal involving a Southeastern Conference member.

PointsBet also became the first operator to partner with a programme in the Big Ten Conference – in which Michigan State also competes – when it agreed a multi-year deal with the University of Maryland.

The Michigan State Spartans have experienced success in both basketball, in which the team has won the men’s NCAA Tournament twice, and American football, in which it claims six national championships.

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