MGM Resorts International announced in a press release yesterday that it has reached a multi-year partnership with the MLB to make MGM the “Official Gaming Partner of MLB” and the “Official Entertainment Partner of MLB.”
Financial terms behind the deal were not disclosed, but MGM Resorts explained yesterday that the wide-ranging partnership involves marketing and data rights.
MGM seems to have struck a good deal on the marketing side with the agreement specifying that the MGM Resorts and playMGM brands will be promoted across league and team sponsorships, on MLB digital platforms (including MLB.com and the MLB At Bat app) and on broadcast platforms including the MLB Network.
Additionally, MGM Resorts will be partnering with the MLB to host promotions at domestic and international MLB events as well as work together on other “fan engagement offerings.”
The data side of the deal will give MGM Resorts access to official league data, which is critical for offering in-game betting markets. Access to league data will not be exclusive, but MGM Resorts will be given exclusive access to enhanced statistics.
As ESPN explained, the enhanced statistics will cover things such as pitching velocities, runner speeds and more. Unlike the official league data, enhanced stats will be exclusive to MGM and will likely make it possible for MGM to not only provide highly accurate odds, but also to offer special wagers that competing sportsbooks will not be able to offer without that data.
MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said this in a statement:
“We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with MLB. We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans.
“Combining MGM Resorts’ world class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry. This partnership further amplifies the significance of our GVC JV, firmly establishing MGM Resorts and playMGM as the market leader in partnerships with major professional sports leagues.”
His mention of the GVC JV refers to a partnership MGM Resorts formed with international betting company GVC Holdings earlier this year. In that deal, MGM and GVC agreed to work together to target the US sports betting and online gaming markets. Each company committed $100 million in initial funding on the joint venture.
The partnership between MGM and JVC has the potential to reach 15 states with MGM-owned casinos providing the needed physical presence to enter the market and GVC providing extensive experience in managing online gaming platforms.
With its eye on the US sports betting market, MGM Resorts has also been busy securing partnerships with major sports leagues. So far this year, MGM has reached similar marketing and data partnerships with the NBA, American Football Alliance, NHL and New York Jets.
Taken together, these partnerships place MGM in a strong position as additional states legalize sports betting. Not only does MGM now have the ability to launch sports betting in as many as 15 states pending legislation, but it will also be able to expand its brand presence through the deals it has already signed with multiple leagues and pro teams.
MGM is currently partnered with GVC Holdings on the playMGM website and mobile app for sports betting in New Jersey. It will be no surprise if we start seeing the playMGM brand pop up in additional states as legal sports betting spreads across the US.