The National Hockey League (NHL) and William Hill recently announced a deal in which William Hill will become an “Official Sports Betting Partner of the NHL.” As part of the agreement, William Hill will be able to take advantage of the NHL brand in promotions.
“This new partnership is yet another example of the innovative yet practical approach our League is taking with the emerging sports gaming industry,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a press release. “We continue to work directly with stakeholders to cultivate relationships across the sports betting landscape. Partnering with William Hill US, a leader in both the sportsbook and mobile betting marketplace, provides a tremendous opportunity to further fan engagement.”
“We are thrilled to become an official sports betting partner of the National Hockey League,” said William Hill US CEO Joe Asher. “Commissioner Bettman and his team at the NHL have been at the forefront of understanding the opportunities to engage fans through sports betting. Combined with our existing partnerships with the Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils, we are extremely excited to continue to build our relationship with the NHL.”
As mentioned, William Hill already has sports betting agreements with a couple teams. In September 2018, it became the first sportsbook to partner with an NHL team when it did so with the Las Vegas Golden Knights, a combination that only seemed natural. In October 2018, William Hill and the New Jersey Devils teamed up.
This is not the first “official sports betting partner” with which the National Hockey League has inked a deal. In late October 2018, the NHL announced that MGM Resorts would become its official sports betting partner. By the language of the announcements, it sounds like MGM is “the” official sports betting partner, while William is “an” official partner, meaning MGM is the primary one.
Another clue that MGM is the big daddy is that its agreement stated that the gaming company will have access to official league data; the William Hill press release says nothing of the sort. And it is not just basic stats like goals, assists, saves, and game scores that will be involved. Crazy, advanced stuff like puck-tracking could be involved for in-game betting next season.
It seems that the legalization and subsequent spread of sports betting in the United States has boosted sports books in Nevada. The NHL’s press release states that betting on NHL games has jumped 38 percent during the current season. Not only that, but NHL fans, according to a Nielsen Sports report, are more likely to bet on the other major U.S. professional sports than are fans of those sports. But what if someone is a fan of multiple sports? How does that work? But I digress.
As mentioned, William Hill will have the opportunity to promote itself using the NHL’s name. The press release also states that it “will leverage branding opportunities in connection with the League’s calendar of marquee events,” which one might guess to be things like the All-Star Game and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.