The 25-year-old Canadian hockey phenom is the first active athlete from the four major professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) to become a brand ambassador for the sportsbook. He’ll be featured in BetMGM’s future marketing campaigns, promotions, social media posts, and fan events, and joins an already star-studded team of brand ambassadors at BetMGM. They include fellow Canadian hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Garnett, Marshawn Lynch, and Jamie Foxx, among others.
“I am very excited to partner with BetMGM as they continue to shape the future of sports betting,” said McDavid in the press release. “It’s also a real honor to be on the same BetMGM team with star athletes like Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Garnett, both of whom I admire very much.”
McDavid had already boasted an impressive endorsement portfolio, including deals with CCM hockey equipment, Adidas, Rogers Communications, and CIBC. He also has equity deals with sports nutrition company BioSteel and mobile streaming app Buzzer.
Now in his seventh season with the Edmonton Oilers, McDavid has amassed 224 goals and 429 assists in just 461 career games. He became the league’s youngest captain ever at the age of 19 and has twice won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP.
“The accomplishments that Connor has already earned on the ice is astonishing, and we are excited to welcome him to the BetMGM family,” BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost said in the release. “We look forward to working together to engage BetMGM players across North America.”
Here’s a clip of our newest ambassador just doing normal everyday things on the ice pic.twitter.com/MoUcidLeBo
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) March 4, 2022
BetMGM’s Canadian agenda
The endorsement news comes exactly one month before the province of Ontario launches its regulated iGaming market. With arguably Canada’s most popular active hockey player and its greatest hockey player ever (Gretzky) now in its corner, BetMGM could have leverage to convert Ontario’s hockey-crazed bettors to its brand.
With a population of roughly 15 million people, Ontario is poised to be one of the largest sports betting markets in North America. A recent study by Deloitte Canada estimated that single-event sports betting could result in $28 billion in legal-market wagers within five years of legalization. As of Friday, however, BetMGM did not have an approved iGaming license with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the entity in charge of issuing such licenses.
BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt previously revealed plans more than a year ago to enter the Ontario market, and the operator presumably is also interested in trying to launch in Alberta in 2022, especially now that it’s aligned with the province’s biggest sports star, McDavid.
Regulators in Alberta will be accepting two bids from private operators to carry out sports betting in the province. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission has had preliminary talks with the province’s four professional sports teams — the Oilers, Calgary Flames, Calgary Stampeders, and Edmonton Elks — about potentially setting up sportsbooks in each of their respective venues.
Sports Handle reached out to BetMGM Friday afternoon regarding its interest in Alberta and was told the company “couldn’t confirm anything at this time.”
Research conducted in 2020 estimated that Albertans spend over $100 million (CAD) annually on offshore sports gambling websites and daily fantasy sports operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel. With a population of roughly 4.5 million people, the province is the fourth biggest in Canada.
Alberta’s sports bettors have the option to wager online through PlayAlberta, currently the only regulated online gambling site in the province. Since Canada’s Parliament decriminalized single-event wagering at the federal level last August, provincially run lotteries have been offering single-game betting to customers in Canada.