New York Jets and 888 Ink First Ever NFL-Online Gaming Tie-Up, Deal Already Ruffling Feathers
Posted on: October 30, 2018, 11:01h.
Last updated on: October 30, 2018, 11:04h.
News that the New York Jets have signed a sponsorship deal with 888 came via a New York Post article late Monday.
The Post notes disapprovingly that the “the fruits of the deal” were on full display outside the MetLife Stadium when the Jets played the Chicago Bears on Sunday in the form of “several three-story-high, bright-orange banners emblazoned with ‘888.com.’”
The deal — which is not expected to be officially announced until at least Thursday, according to reports — makes the Jets the first NFL team to partner with an online gambling operator. The MetLife Stadium is located across the Hudson in East Rutherford, North Jersey, where online gaming is legally regulated.
Too Close to Sports Betting?
The NFL announced it would relax its longstanding ban on casino advertising ahead of the start of the 2018-19 season, following pressure from team owners. The Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens have seized the new opportunity, partnering with WinStar World and Caesars Entertainment.
Deals with sports betting companies remain off limits, though, which is why it has been suggested the 888-Jets tie up is sailing close to the wind.
According to Post sources, the Jets believe the banners do not violate NFL policy because they don’t specifically name 888’s sports betting product, 888sport. But they do direct people to the 888.com website, which features a prominent link to 888sport, as well as the operator’s casino and poker platforms.
The Post notes that when you land on the 888.com from within the US, you are confronted with an image of a football player being tackled and a large splash for a sign-up bonus for the online sports book.
FanDuel Lives Next Door
But the sports betting landscape is changing, and this is something the NFL is begrudgingly beginning to accept. The MetLife Stadium is a stone’s throw from the Meadowlands Racetrack, which launched sports betting in July in partnership with FanDuel.
This means that from this season you could bet the Jets or Giants at the Meadowlands racetrack’s FanDuel-branded sports book, before wandering across the parking lot to watch the game — a scenario that was once unthinkable given the NFL’s previous hostility towards sports betting.
The Meadowlands sports book is thriving — thanks largely to its proximity to the New York metropolitan area, which means some 14 million people live within an hour’s drive away.
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