On Tuesday, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and The Stars Group announced that they have entered into a multi-year partnership that will have Stars become an “authorized gaming operator” of the NBA.
“The Stars Group is an accomplished global online gaming leader and we are excited to work with them on their first U.S. sports league partnership,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, Head of Fantasy & Gaming for the NBA. “This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars’ global expertise to further optimize the fan experience.”
The wording of the joint press release makes it seem like this is not an exclusive partnership, that the NBA could partner with another online gaming partner, but it is not explicitly stated one way or the other. The details do make it sound exclusive, as The Stars Group will get to use the NBA’s official data for betting lines and results and will be allowed to use NBA logos on its site and on its internet betting products.
On the other side of the deal – and this is big for The Stars Group – Stars will be promoted on NBA TV, the NBA app, and NBA.com, as well as on NBA social media accounts. While American football is king in the United States when it comes to sports betting, basketball is huge, too, so Stars having its name plastered all over official NBA outlets should give a massive boost to Stars’ awareness. Certainly, loads of people know about PokerStars, but there are likely huge numbers of sports bettors and potential sports bettors who aren’t aware of (or are possibly aware of but haven’t really given consideration to) Stars’ sports betting products.
“We are excited to partner with the NBA as we continue to execute on our U.S. strategy,” said Matt Primeaux, The Stars Group’s Senior Vice President of Strategy & Operations in the USA. “This agreement enables us to use official NBA data and league marks, providing a better experience to our customers, while working with the NBA to protect the integrity of games.”
Both the NBA and The Stars Group have been making sports betting moves in the last few months. At the end of July, the NBA announced that MGM Resorts International was to be the official sports betting partner of the NBA and WNBA. This, by the way, is likely why the Stars press release didn’t say “exclusive.” MGM is obviously a major brick-and-mortar gambling player, but it has a sizeable online presence, as well, and will probably be milking the relationship with the NBA on the internet.
In November, The Stars Group signed a 20-year deal with Eldorado Resorts to operate sports betting sites using Eldorado’s license. Eldorado had previously inked a pact with William Hill in which William Hill will operate Eldorado’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. In any state in which Eldorado has multiple casinos, William Hill gets dibs on the first online sports betting skin, while Stars gets the second one. William Hill gets a third skin, if there is one.