This month, The National Hockey League (NHL) has partnered with DraftKings who saw the sports betting platform bcome back its official sports betting, daily fantasy sports and igaming partner in the United States.
Matthew McEwan, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Sports Betting Analyst for SportsBettingDime.com, told Insider Sport about the new deal as the league and other major tournaments continue to engage in collaborations on a major sports marketing campaign from U.S. operators.
InsiderSport – Can you tell us if the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of alternative forms of income for sports clubs?
MM – For most leagues, match day income was the lowest form of income in the past. Almost all of the major North American professional leagues derive the most revenue from their broadcast deals. This form did not suffer much during the pandemic.
However, we had seen a greater focus on commercial income from several leagues before the pandemic. After seeing almost all of that match revenue disappear over the past year, you can bet every league will stress the importance of trading revenue going forward.
IS – Do you think DraftKings’ partnership with the NHL has given it a significant marketing advantage over its competitors in North America?
MM – Although there are large pockets of hockey fans in the United States, the NHL is the fourth most popular professional sports league in the United States. However, this partnership with DraftKings (as well as the agreement between DraftKings, Turner Sports and Bleacher Report) has the potential to close the gap between the NHL and the other three major leagues. As the betting markets develop around the NHL, this will help welcome a new set of fans and interests.
DraftKings will certainly have an advantage over its competitors when it comes to NHL betting. With fans seeing and hearing the mark while watching the games, it will be an easy decision for any new bettor looking to place a bet.
I also think this deal was made with Canada in mind, which plans to host DraftKings and other major US operators before 2022. The NHL is hugely popular in the north and should give DraftKings the track to pick up the Canadians at looking for a sportsbook, assuming DraftKings and the NHL extend its deal to Canada, of course.
IS – Could we see a major marketing push from betting operators against the United States as a result of this agreement? Will this lead to high deals from individual teams, for example?
MM – We are currently seeing the start of this big push in sports marketing from operators oriented towards the United States. The NFL currently has several sports betting partners.
With so many states yet to legalize sports betting / become operational, including the big four (CA, TX, FL, and NY), operators are looking for every opportunity to gain an advantage as they approach. 2022, when a handful of other states are expected to launch sports betting.
With sports betting still so new to the United States, we’ll see how comfortable each league is in dressing their players with operator logos. However, we’ve already seen Caesars buy the naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome, as well as many operators creating physical sports betting in other stadiums. These operators will have their brand image on everything related to sport very soon.
IS – Bleacher Report and Turner Sports are involved in the deal between DraftKings and the NHL. Does this indicate a larger trend in which sports betting is integrated into the larger sports entertainment landscape in the United States?
MM – There is a lot of money in the sports betting industry. Many struggling sports media brands see the rise in sports betting as an opportunity to add additional revenue streams – many successful brands are also looking to increase their profits.
Many sports fans also like to know the betting lines, as well as the live lines, for the matches they watch whether they have bet or not.
We are approaching a time when we will see specific betting game broadcasts on national television, and many major publications (league-managed publications as well) will be offering betting content.
IS – Do partnerships with betting companies offer a new way for American leagues and teams to engage with their supporters? In reference to DraftKings, which offers daily fantasy sports, could sports betting be marketed as an extension of fantasy sports as a form of entertainment?
MM – Sports betting is a form of entertainment. Leagues, as well as broadcasters, appreciate that betting has the ability to extend the interest that an individual may have in a given game, looking to the end to see if their team is covered or if the total exceeds / less.
IS – In the UK, sponsorship agreements between sports clubs and betting companies have come under increasing scrutiny following the revision of the 2005 Gaming Act, largely due to concerns about gambling-related damage. What lessons can the American market draw from Europe to maintain a rational regulatory framework?
MM – The United States must keep its players away from the marketing efforts of the operators. Until players are explicitly pushing sports betting themselves, there shouldn’t be any legitimate issues with gambling damage.
Cast a mark on the court / court / ice and display it all over the broadcast. Buy stadium naming rights and create physical sports betting inside stadiums / arenas. Keep the players away, however.