We can add one more Major sport in the US to ink a partnership deal with a major gambling operator. The National Lacrosse League (NLL) announced Wednesday a deal with global gaming industry leader Roar Digital, the joint venture between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings to be an exclusive betting partner. It is the first-ever partnership between the sport of lacrosse and a gaming company in the United States.
“We are so proud to welcome BetMGM as yet another world-class brand to our family of national partners,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “The growth of our league as a sports and entertainment property and the amount of engagement we will be able to generate through this innovative partnership with MGM Resorts and Roar Digital will be very exciting and add tremendous value to avid, casual and new fans. The like-minded vision both our organizations share will continue to increase the relevance of the NLL and draw a wider audience of fans as we continue the momentum we enjoyed over the last four seasons.”
What the deal means for the NLL
First and foremost, the BetMGM brand will bring exposure to the sport of Lacrosse in the US. MGM will create weekly betting lines for the sport to be distributed through all of the current NLL platforms and channels and they will bring lacrosse into the discussion on MGM's Bleacher Report streaming service, Bleacher Report Live.
“Lacrosse is a fast-paced, high scoring, and growing sport that presents exciting sports betting opportunities. We are greatly impressed by the management and operations of the NLL as evidenced by its strong roster of team owners,” added Scott Butera, President of Interactive Gaming, MGM Resorts. “The NLL is the ideal partner for BetMGM in accessing a fast-growing lacrosse fan base,” he said.
Games will start to be live streamed by BetMGM which further enhances the exposure of the league. NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said the partnership should “increase the relevance” of the league and draw a wider, more engaged audience.
What the deal means for Roar
The deal ensures that BetMGM will be the “official and exclusive gaming partner of the NLL.” It will bring the BetMGM brand into play for lacrosse fans and will allow BetMGM access to advertising and promotional plans at all NLL venues during the regular season and playoffs.
As the oldest sport native to North America and as the fastest growing team sport in the United States, Roar and MGM seemed to have gotten a jump on a market that ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports. The sport has seen a tremendous increase in gate (over $1 million last year) and is beginning to see a huge increase in digital viewership – something that Roar hopes to take full advantage of.
Other deals the NLL has signed
The NLL has been busy lately aligning themselves with companies that can further their brand. Along with BetMGM, recent partnerships include insurance giant Geico, Graybo, a cloud-based video production, editing and distribution platform, Sportlogiq, an analytics company based in Montreal, sports data and tech company Genius Sports, Warrior Lacrosse, an equipment provider owned by New Balance and Wilson Sporting Goods.
The NLL may have been an under-the-radar North American sport but their recent deals should move them off the back pages at very least. With exposure and alliances with some big names that will be motivated to bring lacrosse to the forefront, it seems that lacrosse is ready to take the next step toward relevance.