BetMGM on Wednesday announced the signing of former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch to a brand ambassador role, joining the likes of Barry Sanders, Wayne Gretzky, and Jalen Rose in a group of athletes representing the gambling firm.
BetMGM will pay Lynch an undisclosed sum to be used in upcoming marketing campaigns and to make appearances at events. Other terms of the arrangement were not announced. BetMGM is live in 10 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
“Being part of the BetMGM family is dope and an honor,” Lynch said in a presser. “They’re the leaders in online gaming so I’m excited to learn about the industry from the best and find ways where I can have an impact. Plus, with ambassadors like Barry, Gretzky, and Jalen, I think da’ kid is in good company, ya know what I mean?”
Sanders joined BetMGM in February, just days after sports betting kicked off in Michigan.
Lynch played for the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, and Oakland Raiders during his 12-year career. New York state has online sports betting in the pipeline, and retail-only sports betting is coming soon to Washington state. The Raiders are now in Las Vegas, where MGM is a dominant Las Vegas Strip operator. The Silver State is a mature sports betting market, so Lynch as brand ambassador won’t be as valuable there as in developing state markets.
Lynch a ‘larger-than-life personality’
Despite a lack of a direct connection to Michigan, Lynch should be additive for the casino operator in the booming Michigan market. BetMGM trails leaders FanDuel and DraftKings in terms of sports betting activity, but BetMGM is the clear leader in online casino.
From April through June, BetMGM had 21.9% of the entire online sports betting handle share, trailing FanDuel with 30.8% and DraftKings with 25.5%. Lynch should help BetMGM chip away at that deficit.
BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost commented: “Lynch is both an incredible athlete and larger-than-life personality. The impact he has made on the game of football, coupled with his status as an electric superstar, makes him a tremendous addition to the BetMGM team.”
It looks like some fans took the BetMGM deal as the final nail in the coffin on any chances that the 35-year-old Lynch would make a NFL comeback. “Welp, looks like Beast Mode’s playing days are definitely over now,” one person wrote on Twitter in reaction to the news.
Another comment praised the announcement of the deal stating: “Everyone except BetMGM should fire their marketing department. I will buy whatever Marshawn tells me to. That man is a treasure.”
Everyone except betmgm should fire their marketing department. I will buy whatever Marshawn tells me to. That man is a treasure. https://t.co/5lvgO7ahV4
— Chumps. (@TheChumpcast) July 28, 2021
Another person had a solid idea for a first ad campaign featuring Lynch.
Line set at -2000 that 'I'm here so I won't get fined' gets used by Marshawn and MGM in their campaigns. https://t.co/b9M1RdzZo9
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) July 28, 2021
Photo: Eugene Powers / Shutterstock