PointsBet announced Wednesday that it had signed Drew Brees, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV and the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, to an exclusive multiyear contract for original content as the Australian-based sportsbook further deepened its ties with its official sports betting partner, NBC Sports.
Brees, who signed a contract to join NBC Sports in March shortly after announcing his retirement this offseason, could be on a path to serve as an in-game analyst for Sunday Night Football — the network’s biggest non-Olympics sports broadcasting jewel — by the start of the 2022 NFL season.
According to a report from the New York Post in April, Brees is expected to spend this season transitioning toward that role by serving as a game analyst for Notre Dame college football games and a studio analyst for Football Night in America leading into its Sunday night NFL telecasts.
Brees will star in and help develop original content for PointsBet, while also leading watch parties and steering marketing and promotional concepts, according to a release by the sportsbook.
“Today is a massive day for our company as we welcome Drew Brees into the PointsBet family,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a statement. “Drew is renowned for his tireless work ethic and achieved great success in his career regardless of the obstacles in front of him, possessing the scrappy, well-prepared challenger, win-at-all-costs mentality that embodies PointsBet’s DNA. We look forward to collaborating for years to come and integrating Drew across our portfolio to complement PointsBet’s market-leading technology infrastructure and strategic approach to the competitive sports betting space.”
Bringing Brees on board
PointsBet’s ties to NBC started in August 2020, when it reached a five-year deal with NBC Universal that gave the network a 4.99% equity stake. That pact has helped raise PointsBet’s brand awareness via NBC’s regional sports networks in states and jurisdictions with legal sports betting available, including Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania; and New York.
Pennsylvania and New York help saturate the all-important New Jersey market — the nation’s leader in sports betting handle in the post-PASPA era at nearly $16 billion — with Jersey also serving as a foothold for when the Empire State finishes the process of expanding mobile betting to create potentially the largest U.S. market. The agreement also extended to national brands such as NBC Sports Network, The Golf Channel, and Peacock, the network’s streaming service.
“Today is a massive day for our company as we welcome Drew Brees into the PointsBet family” – Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO
— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) July 7, 2021
Brees is the fifth high-profile brand ambassador PointsBet has brought into the fold for U.S. marketing and the second NFL player after former Chicago Bears return specialist Devin Hester. The sportsbook also has former NBA stars Allen Iverson and Rip Hamilton, as well as former professional golfer and social media ace Paige Spiranac.
“I am excited to team up with PointsBet, a leader in the future of sports entertainment built off elite technology,” said Brees, who spent 15 of his 19 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints after joining them in 2006. “Sports betting is growing across the country and will positively impact sports engagement, and I am proud to be at the forefront alongside PointsBet and NBC Sports.”
In terms of on-field accomplishments, Brees brings a lengthy pedigree. In addition to being a Super Bowl MVP with the Saints and the league’s all-time leader in passing yards, Brees also retired leading the NFL in completions and completion percentage, while finishing second in touchdown passes and pass attempts.
A two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year and 13-time Pro Bowler, Brees also won the Walter Payton Award in 2006 and holds the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54).
Leverage in Louisiana
Though Brees’ deal is on a national level, one state where PointsBet could eventually leverage this deal is in Louisiana, where the former quarterback is revered for leading the Saints to their only Super Bowl title in 2009. He also helped lead efforts to rebuild the city following the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Voters in Louisiana legalized sports wagering in 56 of its 64 parishes last November, and Gov. John Bel Edwards signed it into law late last month. While the state hopes to have sports betting available by the start of this NFL season, it appears more likely launch will take place in the first half of 2022.
The partnership between PointsBet and Brees again underlines the importance of the NFL as the primary driver of sports betting in the United States. The league fully embraced legal sports wagering in April, making Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and FanDuel official sports betting partners in a multiyear deal believed to be worth at least $1 billion.
At least $400 million was legally wagered on Super Bowl LV, and the handle generated will only grow further this season with the addition of a 17th regular-season game.