Major League Baseball (MLB) has become the latest sport to embrace the sports betting sector by forming a partnership with MGM Resorts International.
The ‘all-inclusive partnership agreement’ combines the MLB brand with MGM Resorts and playMGM brands across league and team sponsorships, data usage in gaming, promotion across MLB-owned media platforms, and domestic and international activations at MLB events.
The new multi-year agreement designates MGM Resorts as the first-ever “Official Gaming Partner of MLB” and “Official Entertainment Partner of MLB.” It also follows on the heels of MGM deals with the NBA and NHL.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr commented: “We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers.
“Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”
MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren added: “We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with MLB. We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans.
“Combining MGM Resorts’ world-class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry. This partnership further amplifies the significance of our GVC JV, firmly establishing MGM Resorts and playMGM as the market leader in partnerships with major professional sports leagues.”
As an official sponsor of Major League Baseball, MGM Resorts will domestically promote its brand and gaming options across MLB’s digital and broadcast platforms, including MLB Network, MLB.com, the MLB At Bat app and additional fan engagement offerings to be jointly developed.
MGM Resorts will be identified as an MLB-Authorized Gaming Operator and utilize MLB’s official statistics feed, on a non-exclusive basis, throughout its digital and live domestic sports gaming options. MLB will also make enhanced statistics available to MGM on an exclusive basis. In addition, MGM Resorts and MLB will work together on comprehensive responsible gaming measures and work to protect the integrity of the game both on and off the field.
MLB intellectual property will appear in MGM advertising and promotional campaigns. MGM also will broaden its commitment to baseball by securing multiple MLB Club partnerships. MGM will have a presence at MLB Jewel Events, including the All-Star Game and World Series.
The Japanese element of the deal will see MGM Resorts be an official partner at grassroots baseball events like the MLB Road Show. An interactive fan experience that celebrates Major League Baseball, MLB Road Show tours throughout Japan giving fans an opportunity to participate in baseball activities including batting and pitching cages, baserunning stations, virtual reality, and a baseball museum.
The deal was welcomed by the American Gaming Association, where senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane declared that agreements between sports leagues and the gaming industry enable all sports stakeholders to work together to eliminate the illegal sports betting market.
She said: “With MLB’s announcement today, three major sports leagues now have official sports betting partners – evidence of our continued commitment to protecting the integrity of both consumers and sporting competitions and that contracts remain preferential to statutes in all sports betting deals.”