MGM Casinos Considered Top Dog For Major Sports Partnerships

mgm-nhl-Gary-Bettman-James-MurrenMGM is hoping to position itself as the leading beneficiary in the private sector as legalized sports gambling across the United States enters the mainstream.

At the very least they are betting big and aiming for the moon in terms of the returns.

MGM’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren addressed some of those plans in a wide-ranging interview last week.

In it he talked about those growing partnerships with the big-three sports leagues -NBA, MLB and NHL-  that seem to be taking the lead in welcoming sports betting into their midst as a way to expand their bottom line and rooting interests.

Here’s what he had to say about MGM’s expanding reach into the NBA, “These league partnerships which we announced have resulted in manifest opportunities for us. Take the NBA as an example. Because of that partnership, you’re going to see a far more exciting, longer-lived summer league activity out here [in Las Vegas] this year, with I think tremendous more attendance, viewership and interest”.

This year, Major League Baseball is starting its season in Japan as Seattle and Oakland take to the road for a series on March 20-21st. The Mariners already resigned Ichiro Suzuki back to an active roster spot, presumably so he can have one final chance to play in front of his home country.

MGM, according to Murren will play an active role in the proceedings, saying, “The MLB partnership, in addition to working with MLB and their advanced analytics through their dot-com channels, has also resulted in some exciting Japan opportunities for us. MGM is hosting a number of the ‘road show’ events that MLB is doing in Japan, leading up to some games that the A’s and Mariners are playing against themselves and some Japanese teams.”

nhl-pngMeanwhile they are taking a very different approach with the NHL, signing a ‘puck-in-play’ technology deal with the league. By helping to develop that technology, it could lead to some exclusive prop-bet opportunities on in-game betting such as “who will hit the fastest slap shot”.

By making their brand synonymous with the big sports leagues, and even some of the minor ones like the fledgling AAF, MGM is counting on building loyalty with betters, seeing the casino as synonymous with betting on those sports.

And those might be all small potatoes for the largest prize of them all, the NFL. So far the NFL is taking a back seat in these early days of legalized sports gambling. But the more it becomes the norm, the more they are likely to find big partners to help get a piece of the pie and MGM will be there waiting.

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