he Detroit Tigers have struck a sponsorship deal with a global sports betting operator starting this season as the organization prepares for the launch of online sports gambling.
The Ilitch-owned franchise signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with PointsBet, an Australian online bookmaker growing rapidly in the U.S., according to a Thursday news release. It is the first deal of its kind for the MLB. Financial terms were not disclosed.
As part of the deal, the betting operator will have television broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park and exposure on the team's digital accounts. Its products will also be integrated into The District Detroit and MLB Ballpark apps. PointsBet will be featured on the Detroit Tigers Radio Network and be regularly featured on The Word on Woodward, a twice-weekly fan-favorite live streaming show that airs on the club's channel.
"We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers," said Chris Granger, Group President, Sports & Entertainment, Ilitch Holdings, Inc. "Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet's personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come."
"The PointsBet team is excited to announce our groundbreaking deal with the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball, becoming the first legal sports betting operator in U.S. history to partner with an MLB franchise," noted Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA. "PointsBet operates in rare space within the industry by owning our technology environment from end to end, which allows us to be extremely nimble on product innovation and personalized offerings to complement our app's market-leading speed. We offer the most betting options in the world on MLB games via our unique PointsBetting product, and we are excited to inject a unique and robust betting proposition into the great state of Michigan."
Online sports betting has not yet been implemented in Michigan, though it was legalized last December. Dave Murley, spokesman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said online betting could be launched in the state as soon as the fall, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. The sponsorship deal was finalized after the MLB selected PointsBet as its official authorized gaming operator, giving the bookmaker rights to use official MLB data, marks and logos in its products.
It also comes after the league bent its gambling rules to accommodate sports betting at MotorCity Casino in Detroit, which is owned by Marian Ilitch. MotorCity contracted FanDuel Group to operate its sports book and lounge, which opened in March. Detroit's three casinos have been closed for nearly four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.