The NFL has always been a “go big or go home” kind of business and on that point it has chosen Caesars Entertainment, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, as its casino partner.
The NFL is the last of the big U.S. professional leagues to get on board with a casino sponsor — joining NBA, MLB, and the NHL.
The Caesars deal with the NFL, however, doesn’t include sports betting. The deal only applies to casino gaming. Regardless, this is still a big step for the league. The partnership begins immediately with the NFL playoffs, which kick off Saturday with Wild-Card Weekend. Caesars also is now an official sponsor of Super Bowl LIII.
"All of us at Caesars Entertainment are thrilled to be the first-ever casino partner of the NFL, the most prominent sports league in North America," Mark Frissora, President and CEO of Caesars Entertainment said in a prepared news release. "Combining the league's 180 million fans with our 55 million Total Rewards loyalty program members will expose millions of people to the exclusive and exciting year-round opportunities at our properties."
Caesars has the exclusive right to use NFL trademarks in the United States and the United Kingdom to promote its casino properties and at key NFL events, including the NFL Draft (2019 draft in Nashville and 2020, ironically, in Las Vegas) and the Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on February 3.
The multi-year sponsorship has Caesars providing unique fan experiences for NFL fans that includes celebrity chefs, premier music acts and other entertainment elements at its casino properties.
"We couldn't be more excited to work with one of the world's largest gaming and entertainment companies," said Renie Anderson, Senior Vice President, NFL Partnerships, Sponsorship and Consumer Products. "Combining the NFL with Caesars' expertise in world class entertainment will provide our fans unique experiences both here in the United States and abroad."
The NFL has been opposed to sports betting for years. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s previous standing was to oppose sports gambling, preferring to wait for federal legislation.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the sports betting ban and since then eight states have legal sportsbooks in operation, with other poised to begin early this year and nearly 20 more states with legislation under consideration.
In December, the NFL expressed support for proposed bill now in Congress that would put provide federal oversight over the burgeoning sports betting industry in the United States.
“The Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act reaffirms the long-standing commitment of Congress to protecting the integrity of American athletics. We appreciate the bipartisan leadership demonstrated by Senators (Orrin) Hatch and (Chuck) Schumer in bringing forth this commonsense legislation, and we urge its swift enactment,” said Jocelyn Moore, executive vice president of the NFL.
The NFL cracked open the door and a handful of clubs already have relationships with Caesars Entertainment, including the Falcons, Ravens, Bears, Colts, Saints, Raiders (who are moving to Las Vegas in 2020) and Eagles. These partnerships too are for the “casino category” only and do not include sports betting, daily fantasy or hotels/resorts.