BetMGM, Wayne Gretzky Ink Marketing Deal

Multi-year deal will make Gretzky the latest brand ambassador
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BetMGM will bolster its advertising might under a deal with hockey great Wayne Gretzky, now 60 years of age, that was announced Wednesday.

Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer and widely considered the greatest player in league history, inked a deal to be a North American brand ambassador for the online sportsbook/casino.

Though unclear how much Gretzky, who retired over 20 years ago, knows about BetMGM’s business, he called it a “terrific company” in a statement.

“BetMGM is … one at the forefront of the dynamic changes taking place in the sports business,” said Gretzky, a native of Canada. “I’m excited to be a part of the company’s continued expansion into new states and territories and to help tell BetMGM’s story.”

According to BetMGM, Gretzky could help the online gambling platform with “potential expansion into Canada.” The country is currently mulling over legalizing single-game sports betting.

The BetMGM arrangement came just days after it was announced that Gretzky will join Turner Sports as an analyst. It is worth noting that Turner Sports has a gambling deal with BetMGM rival DraftKings, but that didn’t block Gretzky from inking his own sponsorship deal.

Value of the Gretzky signing

Hockey is not as popular for wagering as football, basketball, and baseball, but it has meaningful handle. In Nevada over the 12 months prior to May 1, hockey accounted for $248,080,614 in wagers, according to figures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

That was about 4.5% of the total handle of $5,493,152,173 during that time frame. Hockey has seen similar handle share elsewhere in the U.S. Though a relatively small part of overall industry handle, hockey is a key component, especially as sportsbooks go to battle to acquire customers. The Detroit Red Wings are one of the NHL’s “Original Six” franchises, drawing constant interest in Michigan despite a current rebuilding phase in which they have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons.

The hockey legend is not the first brand ambassador for BetMGM. It also inked deals with Jalen Rose and Barry Sanders, signings that were designed to boost BetMGM in the state of Michigan, which began a full array of online gambling this past January.

The Rose and Sanders signings seem to have worked, with BetMGM dominating the Wolverine State market so far. It also helps that Detroit’s flagship casino belongs to MGM.

Photo credit: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

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