In 2018, the US lifted its federal ban on sports betting, one active in all states except Nevada. After that occurred, a gambling revolution started that quickly produced results, reshaping the American gambling offline and online landscape. After five years of US states having the possibility to bring this pastime to their residents, thirty-eight territories took advantage of this opportunity and legalized wagering on sports.

In April 2021, FanDuel, Caesars Entertainment, and DraftKings became the first wagering-oriented companies to partner with the NFL to use the competitions’ intellectual property (trademarks) betting promotions. That means they could utilize NFL highlights and implement official NFL stats to set their lines. Four months after this deal, the National Football League released a new statement informing the public that they had also struck an agreement with four other top US gambling operators, WynnBet, FOX Bet, BetMGM, and PointsBet, for these entities to become NLF-approved sportsbook operators. That title allowed these brands to buy in-game commercials and select media inventory. 

Hence, the NFL buddying up with major players in the gambling industry is nothing new. The league has embraced legalized betting, leading to it making $132 million annually from sponsor deals from companies operating in this area. Prior to the league partnering up with gambling operators, multiple teams did so. Ones that teamed up with entities operating New Jersey gambling sites include the New York Giants and Jets, the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears, the Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFL Teams-New Jersey Gambling Deals

New Jersey does not have an NFL team, but the Giants and the Jets play their home games in the Garden State. In 2022, the Jets signed off on a deal with MGM for this famed Las Vegas casino brand to deliver an in-play product within the New York Jets app, with the team promoting the company in its promotional materials and in-stadium signage. Two years before this union, renowned Fantasy sports turned betting entity DraftKings secured an exclusive partnership with the Giants, becoming the legendary team’s official fantasy sports and betting partner. Naturally, the financial terms did not get provided to the media. But DraftKings did get allowed access to MetLife Stadium’s virtual sports lounge on game days and exclusive gaming rights.

Now, let us quickly run down the other football teams that get funds from US gambling operators, also active in the New Jersey betting market.

In 2020, the Philadelphia Eagles entered into a multi-year sponsorships agreement with FOX Bet, a brand operating under the umbrella of Flutter Entertainment, which assumed this mobile sportsbook through a 2020 tie-up with the Stars Group. The contract between these two parties predicted the unveiling of a FOX Bet studio at Lincoln Financial Field, whose goal is to feature exclusive FOX Bet-delegated content. Moreover, the deal noted the introduction of a 4,000-square-foot FOX Bet lounge, open to ticketed guests, and it encompasses social media advertising/custom promotional branding on game days. The Broncos and Titans, that same year, agreed to multi-year partnerships with BetMGM. For the Broncos, the deal included the debut of a premium lounge at Empower Field at Mile High, and the Titans relinquished naming rights to their TV studio at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Around the same time, the Detroit Lions too entered the BetMGM fold through an agreement focusing on digital marketing and in-stadium promotions.

In September 2020, The Chicago Bears and PointsBet joined forces for the latter to gain usage of Chicago Bears IP as the team’s first sports betting sponsor.

The Impact of Betting & Gambling Sponsorships on the NFL

The influence of the wide availability of betting on sports and gambling sponsorships on the NFL is evident in several aspects. The mentioned and vast list of other undiscussed football-wagering-related partnerships have resulted in lucrative deals that have contributed to the league’s revenue. These have supported league salaries, infrastructure, and more. However, above everything, they have broadened the NFL’s target audience, as they have reflected a shift in societal views toward gambling as a popular entertainment form.

That said, ethical concerns have arisen regarding the wide-arm adoption of betting. That holds particularly true concerning its promotion to the public and potential impact on the athletes. The latter has led to concerns over unethical behaviors like match-fixing, as such scandals could cripple the league’s credibility and do irreparable damage.

Looking ahead, the future of NFL business sponsorships holds promise, and it is doubtful that these two spheres will separate soon. Without a doubt, advancements in technology will improve the viewing experience going forward, deepening engagement for those who choose to wager on the NFL.

NFL Players Cannot Promote Betting

Despite loads of NFL teams entering into sponsor agreements with betting companies and the league doing so, its players are not allowed this privilege. The NFL forbids players to license their likeness aimed at endorsing betting. That is why gamblers see the faces of retired stars at US-licensed and offshore online sportsbooks and not ones of current ones.

Agencies representing NFL players cite this as a hypocritical double standard, noting that the NBL, MLB, and NHL players have this freedom, and so should their clients. In 2023, NFL betting sponsorship saw a 40% increase compared to the last season, SponsorUnited noted. Thus, the league should permit their athletes to also get a piece of the gambling cake.

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By SARAH