The Detroit Lions sealed a deal with BetMGM Thursday for the online gaming platform to become the NFL franchise’s first official sports betting partner.
The pact provides promotional benefits to BetMGM through association with the Lions’ brand, with BetMGM becoming the presenting sponsor of “fan-focused assets” like Lions Bingo and Lions Perks, available through the team’s mobile app. Additionally, the partnership guarantees BetMGM presence in the Lions’ broadcast programming, digital marketing, and in-stadium promotion and signage, according to a joint announcement released by the Lions and BetMGM.
The agreement coincides with the beginning of the NFL season next weekend and the anticipated launch of mobile sports gambling in Michigan by late 2020 or early 2021, when BetMGM and other digital gambling platforms will begin competing to sign up new bettors and to attract wagering dollars throughout the Wolverine State. It builds on the Lions’ existing relationship with BetMGM’s parent company, MGM Resorts International, which owns the MGM Grand Detroit casino and has sponsored the MGM Grand Detroit Tunnel Club at Ford Field since 2015.
“The Detroit Lions historic relationship with BetMGM has been years in the making and we’re proud to announce details of our official partnership,” Lions Team President Rod Wood said in the release. “We’re continuously seeking new ways to entertain and involve our fans which is especially important during such unusual times; this partnership with BetMGM will provide additional and exciting opportunities to engage our fans.”
Shared branding at casino, Ford Field, broadcast and digital assets
Thursday’s deal will make the Lions’ logo and team branding a presence at the MGM Grand Detroit casino through the franchise’s Lions Perks program, which was introduced in 2018 and offers fans who download the team’s mobile app chances to win $100 Kroger gift cards after each Detroit home game and enters them into a sweepstakes for a $1,000 Kroger gift card as the season-ending grand prize.
Previously, fans could only accrue Lions Perks points by purchasing food and merchandise during games at Ford Field. Under the partnership with BetMGM, the release said, fans will be able to gain points and access to exclusive Lions Perks prizes and offers while wagering through the BetMGM app and during visits to the MGM Grand Detroit’s sportsbook.
“When we first opened the BetMGM Sports Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit in March, we hoped to develop deep relationships with the state’s top teams,” BetMGM Chief Marketing Officer Matt Prevost said in the release. “We are honored to be the first sports betting partner of the Lions and to offer their fans access to a variety of best-in-class promotions and perks only available on BetMGM.”
BetMGM’s sponsorship of Lions Bingo, a mobile game introduced last season through the team’s app, expands the range of prizes offered to fans who predict the correct sequence of game scenarios when the team plays. Before Thursday’s announcement, Lions Bingo players who accurately guessed which plays would be called and which statistical benchmarks passed during Lions games could win non-cash prizes. Now, under the MGM partnership, winners will be eligible for cash prizes and gratis vacations at MGM resorts throughout the United States.
The Lions’ deal with BetMGM mirrors those of other major professional sports franchises in Michigan and around the country with mobile betting platforms. In Michigan, the Australia-based online sportsbook PointsBet has entered a similar agreement with the MLB’s Detroit Tigers. Through their respective pacts with the Lions and Tigers, BetMGM and PointsBet hope to gain a competitive advantage on the crowded field of digital gambling platforms that are expected to flood the Mitten with sports betting options once state regulators give online gaming the final green light.
“All of us at MGM Grand Detroit are eager and ready to welcome the Detroit Lions and sports betting fans to our BetMGM Sports Lounge this football season,” said David Tsai, president of MGM Resorts Midwest group, in Thursday’s announcement. “We know everyone is eager to get out of their homes and add some fun into their calendars. We are committed to raising the bar in delivering unique and entertaining experiences.”