nline gaming operator PointsBet and Major League Soccer team Austin FC announced Wednesday a new agreement which grants the company rights as a Founding Partner of Austin FC, the only major league sports property in Austin. The multi-year deal comes despite Texas having not yet legalized sports gambling and in anticipation of what could potentially become a very lucrative betting market.
The soccer team’s exclusive sponsorship agreement with PointsBet spans the gaming category, including both retail and online sports betting, as well as daily fantasy and free-to-play games. The relationship marks the gaming operator’s first partnership with a major league sports property in Texas, and its first partnership with an MLS club.
“MLS’s growth as a league, Austin’s emergence as a major league market and Texas’s position as one of the strongest economies in the world collectively represent a very fertile platform for a pro team to enter into a sponsorship with a partner in the sports betting category,” said Andy Loughnane, President of Austin FC.
The team is currently competing in its inaugural MLS season and has recently seen the construction of the state-of-the-art Q2 Stadium for its home matches. As a Founding Partner and as the club’s Exclusive and Official Sports Betting Partner, PointsBet will receive prominent brand integration at the stadium.
Moreover, the company has secured entitlement to the “PointsBet Sports Bar,” which features beverage and food options, 18 television screens, table games and air conditioning. Located on the second level of the North Building, it currently operates as a public bar during Q2 Stadium ticketed events, available to guests with a match ticket.
Additionally, PointsBet will also receive full usage of Austin FC IP, marks and logos, in addition to several sponsorship opportunities and brand visibility across multiple linear and digital assets. Both parties are also set to collaborate on giveaways, promotional sweepstakes and events throughout the term of the partnership.
A key factor of the PointsBet-Austin FC partnership is that it establishes a potential route to a future Texas gambling license. The state considered a bill earlier this year, which if passed would grant professional sports teams licenses to partner with operators via their stadiums.
In addition to the marketing deal, PointsBet signed a 10-year market access deal with Austin FC and Q2 Stadium that would give it exclusive access to the team’s license should the law allow it, reports Yahoo!.
The deal allegedly runs 10 years from the time PointsBet takes its first bet in the state, with the operator sharing a portion of net gaming revenue, and allocating money to build a retail sportsbook at the stadium.
As PointsBet’s platform is the only sportsbook with deep Spanish functionality, both the company and the team will activate its partnership in English as well as Spanish. And in an effort to encourage responsible gaming, PointsBet and Austin FC will work together “to protect the integrity” of the team and MLS matches.
While sports betting is not yet available in the state of Texas, PointsBet has launched a free-to-play contest in partnership with NBC Sports called “Lone Star Pick’Em”, in which users can project outcomes in upcoming professional and college games featuring Texas-based teams.