The first team sponsorship deal between a casino and sportsbook operator and a Major League Baseball (MLB) team is in the books after MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) on Friday, March 8, 2019, announced a multiyear agreement that will see it become the Boston Red Sox ‘official and exclusive resort casino.’
According to MGM Resorts’ official press release…
Under the terms of the new partnership deal, the 37.2 feet high left field wall at the Boston ballpark that has been home to the city’s American League team since 1912, the Green Monster, will don the MGM Resorts logo.
“a natural partnership for our two brands”
What the partnership will include:
Visitors to the iconic ballpark in Boston’s Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood, should begin to see the multiyear agreement become apparent at Fenway Park beginning at the end of March, with the start of the 2019 season, and will include:
- Gameday signage throughout the park, including visible messaging behind home plate and on Red Sox radio and other team-controlled media outlets.
- Exclusive access to unique fan experiences at the ballpark.
- The team’s annual Baseball Winter Weekend event that takes place every January and includes a baseball clinic for kids and a full festival for fans, along with a Town Hall Meeting with leaders of the Red Sox, complete with photos and autographs with players and panel discussions on a range of baseball topics.
“will create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans”
For the past five years, the Red Sox have hosted the weekend getaway at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in neighboring Connecticut. The new partnership replaces that five-year deal and starting in 2020 moves the event to MGM Resorts’ $960 million resort casino, MGM Springfield, which opened on August 24, 2018.
Commenting on the new partnership, Preseident and Cheif Executive Officer for the Red Sox organization, Sam Kennedy, said…
“This is such a natural partnership for our two brands. MGM has set the standard in the hospitality and entertainment industry and their recent expansion into the Commonwealth makes them a clear partner. We are thrilled to welcome them to the Red Sox family and look forward to a long collaboration.”
Meanwhile, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for MGM Resorts International, Jim Murren, added…
“We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with the Boston Red Sox. Combining the two iconic brands of the Red Sox and MGM Resorts will create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans unique to not only New England and MGM Springfield, but the rest of the country. We look forward to continuing our work and partnerships in the world of professional sports and building on our success as a worldwide entertainment leader.”
MGM leads the way in sports partnerships:
Facilitated by global sports marketing firm, Fenway Sports Management, the deal between the Red Sox and MGM Resorts follows the operator’s historic November 2018 deal that saw it designated as the Official Entertainment Partner of MLB as well as the inaugural Official Gaming Partner of MLB.
The November agreement was on the heels of MGM Resorts’ multi-year agreement with the National Hockey League (NHL) to serve as its first official sportsbetting partner. A deal which, at the time, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described MGM Resorts International as ‘leading global gaming operator and entertainment company’ that is destined to be ‘the perfect partner’ to help the league enter the world of sportsbetting.
MGM Resorts International looks to be corning the market on sports betting, having partnered with the New York Jets also in October last year. And in July 31, 2018, inking a partnership deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) only a day after finalizing a related joint venture agreement with British online sportsbetting firm GVC Holdings.
Past scoring partnerships with the primary professional sports leagues, just a day prior to the deal with the NBA, MGM signed a market access agreement with regional gaming powerhouse Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD), that gives each company a path to expand its online and mobile gaming presence across 15 states.
In September last year, MGM also entered into an exclusive three-year partnership with -then-proposed- professional American football league, The Alliance of American Football, which established the operator as the official sports-betting partner of the league.
After on May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which essentially barred states from authorizing sports gambling, eight states have begun to accept wagers.
Currently, Rhode Island is the only New England state to offer sports betting, while legislatures in Maryland, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and the District of Columbia (D.C.) have all introduced their own sports betting bills.
A provision in a proposed betting law announced recently by Democratic New York assembly member, Gary Pretlow, could see in-person wagering at sports venues such as Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium.