Tigers first MLB team to partner with bookmaker

Tigers first MLB team to partner with bookmaker

The Detroit Tigers on Thursday announced a multiyear deal with sportsbook PointsBet, the first such partnership between a Major League Baseball franchise and a bookmaker.

Beginning this season, PointsBet signage will be displayed at Comerica Park. The sportsbook will be featured on the Detroit Tigers Radio Network and on the team’s twice-weekly livestreaming show, “The Word on Woodward.” PointsBet also will be integrated into The District Detroit app, which details the area surrounding Comerica Park, as well as in MLB’s ballpark app.

“Our great fans will enjoy the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides,” Chris Granger, a group president for Ilitch Holdings, the company that represents the Tigers, said in a release announcing the partnership. “As we usher in legal and responsible sports betting, we look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements that it will make to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park.”

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Leading to the deal with the Tigers, PointsBet became the latest sportsbook to become an authorized gaming operator for Major League Baseball. PointsBet will receive access to MLB’s official data feed and the right to use MLB marks and logos within the sportsbook’s products. Sportsbook operator theScore Bet announced a similar partnership with MLB on Tuesday.

“I view baseball as arguably the most disruptable sport when it comes to innovation around betting,” Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet, told ESPN. “I think there’s a huge amount of innovation that can happen around baseball betting.”

Last year, PointsBet’s first in the U.S. market, the sportsbook offered betting odds on individual at-bats throughout MLB games. Bettors could wager on whether a batter would hit a home run or strike out, among other options.

“Even if you join the broadcast in the seventh inning, and the Tigers are winning 6-0 over the Red Sox, there’s still an exciting way to place some action for the remainder of the game,” Aitken said.

The Tigers are the first professional sports franchise in Michigan to partner with a sportsbook but aren’t expected to be the last as the state enters the expanding U.S. sports betting market. Legal sportsbooks have opened in 18 states and the District of Columbia since 2018, when the Supreme Court struck down a federal statute that had restricted regulated sports betting to primarily Nevada. Along the way, the major U.S. professional leagues reversed their long-held opposition to legal sports betting and began developing business relationships with the gambling industry.

In June, the Denver Broncos became the first NFL team to partner with a sportsbook, teaming with FanDuel. The NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball each have partnerships with multiple sports betting companies.

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