Caesars Entertainment Inc. has entered into an agreement that makes Caesars Sportsbook the official and exclusive sports betting and iGaming partner of Michigan State University. The multi-year deal includes several arrangements between the university and the sports entertainment and gaming company.
The State of Michigan launched online sports betting in 2020, and nearly one year later, the industry is proving successful for Caesars as well as delivering tax revenue to the state.
In a joint press release, MSU and Caesars said that the partnership includes an innovative premium seating area at Spartan Stadium, as well as a commitment to responsible sports gaming education from both parties. According to the International Center for Responsible Gambling, as many as 75% of college students gambled in the past year, with 18% gambling weekly. As universities and colleges in the NCAA cozy up to sports gaming companies, the issue of responsible gambling and gambling addiction is bound to be part of the agreements.
Caesars Brand Presence at Spartan Stadium
As is typical for deals like this, Caesars will receive broadcast and digital branding opportunities on MSU athletics media channels, and signage either at campus athletic venues or on the university’s websites. A lynchpin of the official sportsbook status for Caesars will be an exclusive new branded seating section within Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. The Spartans will also allow Caesars to stage a tailgating area outside the football stadium. Both are anticipated to be in place in time for the 2022 football season.
Under head football coach Mel Tucker, who recently inked a 10-year, $95 million contract, the Spartans are coming off a stellar season that’s rekindled interest in the program. MSU defeated rival Michigan, won the Peach Bowl, and finished No. 9 in the final college football poll from the Associated Press.
Caesars will also fund an unknown number of MSU student scholarships as part of their deal with the university, as well as contribute money for internship and professional development opportunities for Spartan students pursuing a career in the sports industry. The deal was brokered by media rights company Playfly Sports, which has accomplished similar deals for NCAA school athletics departments and sportsbooks.
Sportsbooks Eying Big Ten Popularity for Partnership Deals
Last December, the University of Maryland became the first Big Ten school to forge a deal with a sports gaming company when it named PointsBet as its official sports betting partner. Michigan State becomes the second Big Ten school to enter into a similar deal, but it’s not expected to be the last.
According to research by 247Sports, in 2020, the Big Ten led the Power Five conferences in revenue, earning an estimated $768 million that year from all sports-related activities. The lifeblood of Big Ten athletics is its lucrative television deal with the Big Ten Network, FOX Sports, and ESPN.