The unsuccessful six-year legal battle fought by the NBA, NHL, and three other sports organizations from 2012-18 to try to prevent legal sports betting from reaching beyond Nevada borders is becoming more and more forgotten.
On Tuesday, the New York Knicks and Rangers announced a multi-year marketing partnership with BetMGM — with jointly-owned Madison Square Garden also part of the deal.
“We’re excited to be partnering with BetMGM — a leader in the sports betting and gaming entertainment industry — to bring them an unparalleled platform in sports and entertainment,” MSG Entertainment executive Ron Skotarczak said in a statement. “MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment are made up of world-renowned brands that set industry standards for excellence, exposure, and engagement — making us ideal partners to help drive sports betting’s continued growth.”
The news comes just one day after BetMGM was chosen as one of nine sports betting operators to gain approval for a license that should bring legal betting apps to smartphones for New Yorkers in the first half of 2022.
“We’re thrilled to see the BetMGM brand connected to a space as iconic as Madison Square Garden,” said BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost. “New York is a critical state for BetMGM’s continued growth, and I can’t think of a better way to begin our relationship with The Empire State than partnering with The World’s Most Famous Arena and their legendary team franchises.”
Numerous franchises in both leagues previously have made such deals, but few have the storied history of these two teams.
What BetMGM gets for its money
BetMGM will receive “substantial brand integration” inside the Garden — including courtside and ribbon LED signage, GardenVision features, and basket stanchion signage at Knicks games, as well as dasher board signage and Zamboni branding at Rangers games.
Additionally, BetMGM will be included in content across official Knicks and Rangers digital channels on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. BetMGM customers will also receive special opportunities to participate in so-called “premium experiences” at Knicks and Rangers games.
As far as the two MSG Networks go, BetMGM will be featured during live game coverage of the Knicks, Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and New York Islanders, with a virtual blue line during Rangers games and commercial spots during game telecasts.
BetMGM will appear on digital boards outside of MSG, which is a considerable perk given the amount of commuter foot traffic there due to New York Penn Station being located right below the Garden.
This latest announcement comes just three weeks after MSG Networks announced that three gambling-related telecasts would be featured on the channels.
The Bettor Half Hour, planned as “a fast-paced, energetic show that will give an inside look at the sports betting landscape,” airs Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.
That program is immediately followed by The Betting Exchange, offering “news and analysis through the sports betting lens while providing insight into the nuances of betting.”
Finally, on football Sundays at 11 a.m. ET, Odds With Ends, hosted by ex-Giants wide receiver David “Helmet Catch” Tyree and former teammate Mathias Kiwanuka, provides betting analysis, picks, and predictions ahead of the day’s NFL slate.
The combination of regular betting programs and prominent signage all over Madison Square Garden, with prominent branding notice at basketball and hockey games, is something worth monitoring.
Many diehard fans have no interest in gambling, and some even have an aversion to it. Gambling operators in Europe have experienced a backlash of criticism from such fans for the extent of advertising, which has led to limitations on, for example, betting company trademarks on soccer jerseys. In fact, TV ads for gambling are banned from many sporting events in the United Kingdom, while Italy banned all gambling advertising more than two years ago.