Philadelphia 76ers, Caesars Become First NBA-Casino Operator Branding Partnership

Posted on: October 30, 2018, 01:22h. 

Last updated on: October 30, 2018, 01:22h.

On Tuesday, Caesars Entertainment and the Philadelphia 76ers announced a first-of-its-kind branding partnership, in a relationship that will be a novel alliance between an NBA team and a casino operator.

A partnership deal between Caesars Entertainment and Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment (HBSE) — owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils — will make the 76ers the first NBA franchise to secure a partnership with a gaming company. (Photo: Bill Streicher/USA Today)

The deal means that Caesars becomes the first casino operator to secure partnerships with teams in both the NBA and NHL.

The deal is a double-down for both Caesars and Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment (HBSE), the 76ers ownership entity. Along with the Sixers, the deal also includes the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. American businessman Joshua Harris is the primary owner of both sports franchises.

Details on the NBA side were scarce, but a press release indicated that the casino company will have ads at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where the 76ers play home games. Fans will also be given the chance to win a vacation trip to The LINQ in Las Vegas or to Caesars Atlantic City.

More details were available about Caesars’ agreement with the Devils. According to the company’s release, the partnership will include the addition of the Caesars Club at the Prudential Center, where the Devils play home games. The Caesars Club will be a 5,000 square foot restaurant in the arena’s main concourse and will promote the company’s presence inside the state.

Prudent Decision

Casino companies have obviously placed a high value on space inside the Prudential Center. The Caesars Club will be the second such lounge inside the arena to be owned by a gaming operator.

Last week, the Devils announced their first in-game branding partnership when they teamed up with sportsbook William Hill.

That deal called for the creation of the William Hill Sports Lounge inside the Prudential Center. Though sports betting will not be allowed on site, the lounge will feel like a sportsbook, with TVs broadcasting games, boards providing odds, and areas close by to make mobile bets.

The Devils have now joined the Vegas Golden Knights as NHL teams who’ve secured multiple branding partnerships with casino companies. The announcement also comes the day after the NHL and MGM Resorts reached a landmark sports betting deal.

The agreement between the NHL and MGM will allow the casino operator to access the league’s data and explicitly states there will be no “integrity fee” involved.

MGM has now reached deals with two major pro sports leagues. In August, the company paid a reported $25 million for a three-year agreement to become the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA.

As with the NHL deal announced on Tuesday, MGM’s agreement with the NBA also allows the company to access the league’s real-time data.

Roadblocks Come with New Territory

In September, the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys became the first pro football team to partner with a casino when the team announced WinStar World Casino Resort would be the team’s official casino sponsor.

The marriage of professional sports and sports betting is still a new dynamic and hasn’t been without complications so far. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania-based SugarHouse dropped out of an agreement with the Golden Nugget, with whom SugarHouse had partnered in order to offer mobile sports betting in New Jersey.

Garden State regulations state that online operators must partner with a land-based casino, but SugarHouse backed out due to an integrity provision that would have prohibited the company’s internet casino from offering bets on NBA games.

The Golden Nugget’s Tilman Fertitta — who has recently been rumored to be lining up an alliance with Caesars Entertainment of his own — is also the owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and as such, New Jersey law considers offering lines a conflict of interest.