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    The Effects of Gambling on Sponsorships

    It’s official, sports gambling is now legal in Arizona. Governor Ducey has stewarded this initiative with the promise that it will generate more revenue and subsequently more jobs for Arizona. It’s being hailed as a win … one that has been replicated in a couple of dozen other states across the country and one that most likely will be nationwide at some point in the near future.


    Good for us, right?


    Our specific gaming law will allow for statewide mobile wagering as well as some of the country’s first in-stadium sportsbooks. To my knowledge, our in-state betting footprint is limited to just professional teams (which I think is important) but I’m sure there will be ways to wager on collegiate sports as well (which I think is dangerous).


    But, what effect will legalized sports gambling have on sponsorships beyond the deals that are already being struck by the likes of FanDuel (Suns), Caesars (Dbacks), and others?


    For the team, network, or event it means more revenue, which is not a bad thing whatsoever. Like every other business that operates in a free capitalist society, making money is a priority. The gambling component of any game, network or event, is an opportunity for other brands to engage with audiences more relevant to their product. Think travel, golf, adult beverages, and a whole lot more.


    Teams, events, and networks will capitalize on this new aspect of the entertainment they provide by expanding their portfolio to include engagement to this specific audience. So, opportunity is the word of the day for every sports team, network, and event in the market. Sports gambling should be a way for sponsorship sellers to expand their relationships with clients that are relevant to this consumer behavior.


    It’s important for clients to realize that the future of sports is both digital and segmented. I don’t want to burn a whole new blog topic to support my point here but just know that gambling will represent one of what could be multiple “feeds” of a sports broadcast. The game will air on a digital platform and will give the consumer a choice of which feed they want to see. For example, Fry’s will perhaps prefer to be on the family feed and Jim Beam will prefer the gambling feed. Make sense? More on that in a later blog.


    For now, sponsor sellers should be looking for ways to integrate this new asset into their portfolio. Clients should take a hard look at marketing to this audience through sports platforms. This audience promises to be highly engaged and relatively monolithic in its makeup which makes them easier to convert.


    In a word, sports gambling in Arizona is a tremendous “opportunity” for all involved. I personally don’t gamble on sports, but it’s a very safe bet to say that this will be a win for the industry.

    About the author: Ed Olsen is the CEO of Line Drive Sports Marketing. He is a former adjunct professor at Arizona State University and has lots of opinions on all things sports.

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