June 28 – The MLS has relaxed its commercial rules to allow betting companies to brand team shirts opening up jersey fronts and sleeve patches from the 2020 season.
The move is a reaction to the sponsorship opportunity created when the US changed betting rules allowing online gambling companies to operate legally in the country. States are now starting to issue gaming licenses.
The MLS also opened up the sponsorship positions to companies in the alcoholic spirits business. Betting and spirits sponsorship will only be allowed on adult team shirts and not on U-21 team kits.
Stadium naming rights, stadium signage, field-board advertising, ad spots and custom programming will also be allowed under the new rules.
Betting operators will also be able to open private lounges both inside MLS stadia and on property adjacent to the venue – effectively bringing betting into the stadia.
The new rules follow the MLS in March signing a four-year, non-exclusive deal with MGM Resorts Int’l to be the league’s first official sports betting partner.
The deal is part data and part promotion with MGM Resorts getting access to enhanced MLS stats for fans and sports betting customers, as well as digital promotion. That will include event activation as well as integration on to the MLS’s digital channels as well board signage on TV games.
MLS and MGM will also jointly develop a free-to-play game to be released later this year.
MGM, which has made a big play in sports already via deals with the NBA, NHL and MLB, will also work to bring football events to Las Vegas.
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