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Michigan State University Inks Sports Betting Partnership Deal with Caesars

Posted on: January 15, 2022, 01:28h. 

Last updated on: January 15, 2022, 05:48h.

Spartans and Romans seem like a combination that wouldn’t mix well, given the latter’s preference for opulence and the former’s disdain for it. But they’ll try to make a go for it in Michigan, according to an announcement from Caesars Sportsbook.

Sparty, the mascot of Michigan State University, celebrates during a Spartans football game. This week, the school and Caesars Entertainment announced a multi-year partnership that makes the Las Vegas-based gaming company the exclusive sports betting and iGaming partner for the school’s athletic program. (Image: Michigan State/Facebook)

On Thursday, Caesars and Michigan State University announced a multi-year partnership that makes the Las Vegas-based company the exclusive sports betting and iGaming partner for the Big Ten school’s athletics department.

The deal will give Caesars access to “TV-visible” signage during the Spartans basketball, football, and hockey games. As a school in the Big Ten, Michigan State’s games frequently air on such national networks as CBS, ESPN, and Fox Sports.

For the 2022 football season, Caesars will get naming rights to a premium seating section and an outdoor tailgating area at Spartan Stadium.

The deal includes providing exclusive promos for Spartans fans at Caesar’s mobile sports betting and iGaming apps, as well as at the World Series of Poker online site. Caesars will also be able to provide its customers with “VIP experiences” with the East Lansing school.

“The Spartan fan base and alumni network is passionate and well-established across the country,” said Caesars Digital co-president Eric Hession in a statement. “We look forward to building upon our connection with them while strengthening the legacy we hold in the state of Michigan and advancing scholarship opportunities through this partnership.”

Michigan State Not the First

Michigan State Athletics Director Alan Haller said in a statement that the partnership with Caesars will give its sports teams “significant resources” to support their growth.

We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this innovative opportunity, while recognizing the importance of Caesars’ commitment to responsible sports gaming education both for the student-athletes and the University community as a whole,” Haller said.

Besides an undisclosed financial commitment to the school, Caesars will also provide funding for student-athlete responsible gaming education and student scholarships. The gaming company also will establish internships and professional development opportunities for students who want to work in sports.

The Spartans are not the first college program to partner with a sportsbook. Last September, Caesars announced a partnership with Louisiana State University, one of the biggest schools in the SEC.

In 2020, PointsBet landed a deal with the University of Colorado, and last year Denver University announced a partnership with Denver University.

There have been other deals made regarding college sports in Arizona. Caesars secured a sports betting and fantasy gaming partnership with the Fiesta Bowl, one of college football’s biggest bowl games of the season. Barstool Sports, the online sports site whose brand represents one of Penn National Gaming’s sportsbooks, landed naming rights for the Arizona Bowl.

Some have also questioned whether amateur athletics should be used to promote sports betting. They have also raised concerns not only about responsible gaming practices, but about game integrity. Even though illegal sports betting has been around for ages, they fear the presence of legal sportsbooks might lead to instances of match-fixing, with student athletes being offered money to ensure a certain outcome.

Betting on college games is prohibited in Oregon. Other states, like New Jersey, ban wagers on games taking place in their state or involving in-state teams.

Expect More Sports Betting Partnerships with Colleges

However, according to Playfly Sports Properties, which is Michigan State’s third-party media-rights holder, more deals like this may be likely. Playfly facilitated the deal between the two sides.

“The rapidly expanding interest around gaming in the college space has pushed us to create strategic opportunities for our college properties that not only provide impactful gaming education resources, but also significant opportunities to drive new sources of revenue,” said Playfly President Christy Hedgpeth in a statement.

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