The evolution and mainstreaming of the US legal sports betting industry has been happening in plain sight. The end of last week provided us another example of just how big gambling has become and how providers within the overall scene have been able to gain a fair amount of oxygen in the broader US society.
Caesars Entertainment on Thursday gained naming rights for the iconic, 73,000-seat Superdome in New Orleans. The deal will span 20 years. Taking over naming rights from Mercedes-Benz, Caesars gains the rights package for the Superdome in what is said to be a $138 million deal – $6.9 million annually. The naming rights will run through the 2041 NFL season.
“Today, the Louisiana Joint Legislative Committee on Budget approved the naming rights convention for the Superdome,” Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said in a statement. “This approval was a procedural step in securing the naming rights for the Superdome and now we move to finalize our partnership agreement. Once that is official, we will have a formal announcement.”
The Louisiana Superdome has been synonymous with not only Louisiana sporting events but huge happenings within the broader US sporting and cultural scenes. It has been home to seven Super Bowls, College football’s BCS National Championship and the men’s NCAA Final Four to name a few and will continue to host America’s most relevant sporting events in the future under the name “Caesars Superdome”.
“The Caesars Superdome represents the state of Louisiana’s most prominent sporting and multi-purpose event facility, which is also recognized around the world,” the information document detailing the agreement explained. “Caesars will promote this prominent facility in their marketing efforts and serve as a ‘brand ambassador’ for events hosted in New Orleans.”
Some More Details
As mentioned, Caesars will get branding rights for the Superdome for 20 years. Work will begin right away on Caesars’ new sponsorship branding on the exterior and interior of the iconic sporting facility. It is the goal for to have the branding efforts completed prior to the New Orleans Saints’ first preseason home game on August 23.
More minute details of the deal are strangely sparse but the $138 million that will change hands as a part of the deal will go toward the estimated $450 million renovation slated to take place at the stadium. Improvements on the older venue have been in the works for years and will get a boost from the Caesars contribution.
It is unclear at this point in time whether or not a Caesars’ branded betting lounge, or any other retail betting facility will be coming to the Superdome.
Cementing Status in the Yet-to-Be Launched Louisiana Market
Louisiana is in the midst of legalizing sports betting in their state, Regulatory issues have bogged down the process but there is still momentum for a platform that was approved by 55 of the state’s 64 parishes on the 2020 Election Ballot.
Gov. John Bel Edward signed the sports betting legislation into law in June but final drafts for a potential platform have yet to be finalized. It hasn’t stopped prospective operators from lining up for a crack at one of the licensing opportunities in the state, however.
Once all of the regulatory hurdles are cleared, Louisiana is expected to be a robust market. Louisiana currently ranks as the 24th most populous state in the country with about 4.6 million residents but boasts a rabid fanbase and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, and one of the top college programs in the country, the LSU Tigers.
A pre-emptive move into the state by Caesars should serve the sportsbook provider well, giving them a leg up on what should be a healthy Louisiana legal sports betting scene.
When launched, Louisiana’s sports betting providers are expected to draw from Texas, a state that is nowhere near launching their own sports betting platform, Oklahoma and Arkansas that have yet to legalize sports betting and Mississippi that has a retail-only sports betting platform.
The 180 Between the NFL and Sports Betting
It wasn’t that long ago that sports leagues and state legislators were vehemently opposed to tying themselves to legal sports betting. The change of heart between the NFL specifically and the casino industry represents a full 180-degree turnaround since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn its blanket ban on legal sports betting in 2018.
The New Orleans Saints deal to rebrand their stadium with the Caesars name is just the latest sign that the mainstreaming and overall acceptance of sports betting is almost complete. Leagues, teams, and sporting venues across the US haven’t been shy about signing on with gambling providers and likely won’t be going forward.