Inspired Entertainment is set to bring NFL veterans back to the game through a deal reached with Veepio, the mobile technology provider of the NFL Alumni (NFLA).
The deal gives Inspired Entertainment the right to use the brands, names, images and likenesses of NFLA members in upcoming virtual sports games.
Inspired Entertainment operates virtual sports betting terminals around the world and supplies online games to more than 100 licensed gambling sites. Some of Inspired’s US clients include Betfair, SugarHouse, Golden Nugget, Caesars and Resorts Online in New Jersey.
A press release from Inspired Entertainment explains this deal allows Inspired to use the names and images of NFL Alumni in its upcoming title, Legends of Football. The new game will feature NFL greats such as Hall of Famer Franco Harris, who said this:
“I’m excited to see the Inspired virtual product and connect with fans who may not have seen me or some of my contemporaries play during our careers. I’m especially proud of the benefit that will be derived by the NFL Alumni retired players as they transition into their lives after football.”
The NFL Alumni is the league’s organization for retired players and their families, coaches and other NFL professionals dedicated to assisting former players in their post-football lives. The NFLA assists players with legal, medical and business services to help keep players and their families “healthy, productive and connected to the league and their former teammates.”
Here’s NFLA CEO Beasley Reese on the deal:
“This partnership with Inspired fits well within our primary mission of ‘Caring for Our Own.’ The Legends of Football suite of games helps position NFL alumni to grow their brands, embrace technology, and enhance their financial stability.”
Veepio is a technology platform co-founded in 2015 by Najee Goode of the Philadelphia Eagles. It allows mobile app developers to link in-app content to other online resources without kicking users out of the app itself. Users browsing the Philadelphia Eagles app powered by Veepio, for example, can tap a player’s photo for instant stats and other information without leaving the app.
The NFLA and Veepio partnered three months ago to develop new ways to monetize mobile technology for former NFL players. Veepio CEO Jonathon Ohliger said this in a statement:
“As the award-winning recognized leader in Virtual Sports, Inspired is the perfect fit for VEEPIO and the NFLA. They have grown the Virtual Sports category massively in recent years, but no one has offered a virtual football game with the former players. We have every confidence that Inspired will put together an exhilarating suite of games that will help benefit NFLA member initiatives.”
Generic Virtual Football No More
Inspired Entertainment operates a variety of virtual sports betting games that run the full gamut from basketball to darts. Each game is designed to simulate a real sports event with players watching simulated, three-minute events and placing wagers on the outcome just like they would in traditional sports betting.
This video from Inspired Entertainment offers a glimpse of various games in action:
Games by Inspired Entertainment do commendable work in mimicking the real thing with one exception: actual team and player names are substituted with generic stands-ins to avoid copyright issues.
For example, Inspired’s current football game called V-Play 1st Down makes use of generic team names such as the Hawks or Sabres and avoids mentioning actual NFL player names. The deal with NFLA and Veepio will change at least part of the equation so that former NFL greats can be included by name in Legends of Football for a more interesting and immersive experience.
This is the first time Inspired Entertainment has discussed Legends of Football, so details on the upcoming game are almost nonexistent at this time. If it works anything like V-Play 1st Down, players will be able to place wagers on the outcomes of in-game events.
In V-Play 1st Down, players are dropped in the middle of a game between two virtual football teams and can place a variety of wagers on the outcome of the next drive. For example, players can bet on the first play resulting in a TD run, second play resulting in a turnover, the drive ending with a field goal and so on.
The end result is something very similar to actual NFL betting, but operated at a faster pace with simulated games running around the clock all year long.
Deal Continues the Incremental Expansion of Virtual Sports in the US
Sports betting purists may find virtual sports betting uninspiring, these games have proven popular in other regulated jurisdictions. Even as legal sports betting gains momentum, virtual sports betting continues to expand in the US.
Inspired Entertainment has been at the forefront of virtual sports betting in the US. In 2016, Inspired received approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to launch virtual betting terminals inside William Hill sportsbooks across the state.
Inspired made its US online virtual sports debut in 2017 after reaching a deal with Rush Street Gaming to launch a suite of five games for SugarHouse Online customers in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Lottery also works with Inspired Entertainment to operate Xpress Sports terminals offering a similar suite of games.
Now, Inspired becomes the first provider of its kind with rights to use the names and images of (former) NFL players.
The NBA is also getting in on the action through an agreement with Highlight Games reached earlier this year. Under that agreement, the NBA and Highlight Games are partnered to launch a virtual basketball game called NBA Last 90 using actual game footage sliced and decided to recreate “millions of possible outcomes.”