Caesars Entertainment continues to be proactive in their pursuit of a major NCAA presence. Last month, the sportsbook signed a ground-breaking partnership deal with one of college football’s most iconic annual games, the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. Late last week, it was announced that the sports betting provider Heavyweight became “exclusive gaming and sportsbook partner” of Louisiana State University, thanks in part to LSU’s third-party multi-media rights holder, Playfly Sports.
Partnering with one of college sports’ most recognizable franchises is a win for the elite sportsbook brand prompting Caesars Digital Co-President Chris Holdren to say: “LSU Athletics programs have always exemplified excellence, and at Caesars, we couldn’t be happier to partner with such an iconic brand in college athletics. We have a proud legacy in Louisiana and bringing LSU fans and alumni closer to the sports they love while also offering scholarship opportunities will help us build upon that.”
Motivations for sportsbook/team partnerships have followed a similar blueprint as of late. For the sports programs, there are significant financial benefits as well as the chance to increase their fan experience. For sports betting providers, it is all about exposure in key markets around the country.
Although there are no plans for a physical sportsbook at any of the LSU sporting venues, Caesars branding will be visible throughout. Caesars signage will be present in all of LSU’s sports venues going forward including LSU Tigers Stadium, the college program’s football home, Pete Maravich Assembly Center where LSU basketball plays and Alex Box Stadium where the baseball team plays its home games. All told, there are 21 LSU teams that will have Caesars branding at their home venues.
Caesars will also gain naming rights to Skyline Club at Tiger Stadium, one of the crown jewels included in the deal as well as advertising and sponsorship rights on the LSU mobile app. They will receive mentions on all LSU broadcasting and digital assets.
In return, Caesars Sportsbook will pay what has been called “multiple millions” to the college and will create an annual scholarship fund to support LSU students. Caesars has also committed money to aid with the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gaming.
Building That Louisiana Presence
The Louisiana sports betting industry is not yet live and already Caesars has emerged as a huge name in the overall scene. They secured naming rights of the state’s most iconic sports venue, the Louisiana Superdome and now they are the exclusive partner of the beloved LSU sports programs.
It was Thursday that the Louisiana legal sports betting industry’s permanent sports betting rules came into focus. The rules are viewed as one of the final hurdles for the platform to clear before its long-awaited launch.
The goal is for a legal sports betting platform to go live October 1 – that is if all goes as planned. It gives Louisiana bettors a chance to take advantage to the majority of their beloved New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers seasons.
The NCAA/Gambling Industry Relationship Has Come a Long Way
It wasn’t that long ago that entities such as the NCAA swore off any mention of gambling in relationship to their products. In 2019, NCAA President Mark Emmert said: “Sports wagering is going to have a dramatic impact on everything we do in college sports. It’s going to threaten the integrity of college sports in many ways unless we are willing to act boldly and strongly.”
Bold actions have happened and now sportsbooks have a fingerprint on a number of college programs around the country including LSU. It’s all about revenues for college programs and getting their fans closer to the action.
LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward, on their deal with Caesars said: “LSU has always taken pride in providing fans with unique, innovative, and world-class experiences and our new partnership with Caesars Entertainment will do just that. We share a clear vision of how athletics and entertainment can come together to enhance the fan experience, and we are excited to join with Caesars to make that vision a reality.”
UNLV and the University of Nevada-Reno have a long-standing relationship with William Hill, the University of Colorado has PointsBet as an official sportsbook partner and Superbook has partnered with the University of Denver.
Caesars just became a title sponsor of one of college football’s playoff institutions, the Fiesta Bowl.
The Tip of the Iceberg
With LSU joining the ranks of college programs with sportsbook sponsors, there are now four college programs in the US that have embraced what the sports betting world has to offer. It is likely just the tip of the iceberg as far as sportsbook/college program relationships go.
Expect more such deals to be signed during this unprecedented time of the mainstreaming and acceptance of legal sports betting in the US. Caesars isn’t likely to slow their pursuit of more college sponsorship opportunities and other Heavyweight providers are sure to follow the Caesars lead.