In what National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver and MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren hailed as a historic partnership, the professional sports league and major international gaming and hospitality company have struck an agreement on sports betting data and intellectual property, the first relationship of its kind.
The pair made the announcement at a press conference at the St. Regis New York Hotel in New York City on Tuesday. The deal will permit MGM and its properties offering sports betting to use official NBA league data as well as NBA logos and marks in conjunction with its sports betting products.
This agreement makes MGM the “official gaming partner” of the NBA, but this deal is not exclusive to MGM. In fact, eliciting a laugh from Murren and the audience, Silver invited more deals between U.S. sports betting operators and the Association.
NBA Sports Betting Deal With MGM Ushers In ‘A Whole New World For Us’ and Positions MGM to ‘Win’ as Number of US Sports Betting States Expected to Grow
“Integrating the NBA’s assets and having official NBA data showcased across the MGM Resorts platforms will provide us with a distinct advantage and instill more confidence in knowing that our data is directly from the NBA,” Murren says in the press release distributed by MGM.
The three year deal, of which the financials were not disclosed, will allow both sides to test the waters in what Silver called “a whole new world for us.”
“NBA’s three-year deal does not include rights to allow MGM to stream live NBA games on a mobile app that allows gamblers to bet on that app at the same time,” reported ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “That, many believe, is where the big money is.”
Silver indicated that the NBA recognized that their aggressive lobbying campaign in at least two dozen states with respect to sports betting legislation was an “uphill battle.” The league saw that states were resisting their preferred legislation, and further that a federal framework was not in the works.
But Silver indicated that the state-level battle is one that’s far from over as so far only six states have legalized (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia) or expanded their sports wagering offerings (Delaware). But so far, no state has passed legislation mandating the use official league data, or requiring operators or state lotteries to pay the league an “integrity fee” or royalty in any amount. New York came close.
In response to a question about the origin of the official league data — used to grade wagers — from Sportradar, Silver said that their Sportradar deal does not govern its data in the U.S. With respect to data for MGM and other potential partners, he said “The official data feed will come directly from the leagues operation center, or from a partner yet to be named by the NBA.”
Big Week for MGM.
Murren was pleased to have the MGM become the first gaming group to partner with a pro league on data for sports wagering. MGM has now set the market rate for the cost of doing business of this kind directly with a professional sports league.
It’s been quite a week in MGM announcements, with news of its joint venture with the announced formation on Monday of a sports betting and online gaming joint venture with British betting group GVC Holdings Plc, owner of the Coral, Ladbrokes and Sportingbet brands.
Further on Monday, MGM and Boyd Gaming announced a new partnership on Monday that will expand MGM’s portfolio into states likely to offer sports betting and/or online gaming in the coming months or years. The partnership has an eye toward jurisdictions where either Boyd Gaming or MGM operates physical casino resorts and should be able to obtain licenses to operate online.
“We need to have great brands, which we have at MGM. We needed the right market access in the U.S. We have that. … we also need the best in-game betting experience which we get with GVC, and now we have tremendous data,” Murren summed it up.
He remarked that all of these pieces has MGM primed to “win” in the expanding U.S. sports betting market.
There was some news for New Jersey sports betting tucked at the end of the presser, too. Said Murren: “At the end of this week we’ll be taking mobile bets from The Borgata via the Play MGM app.”