- BetMGM has announced the addition of Edmonton Oilers’ captain and reigning NHL MVP Connor McDavid to their brand ambassador roster.
- BetMGM will be entering the Ontario market in the near future.
- McDavid is the first active athlete from the North American major sports to serve as a sportsbook brand ambassador.
In what is something of a significant development–at least on a symbolic level–BetMGM has announced that NHL superstar Connor McDavid has signed on as a brand ambassador for the sportsbook brand. He’s BetMGM’s first active professional athlete from the four major sports to become an ambassador and unless I’m mistaken is very likely the first for *any* sportsbook in the North American market. I sure can’t think of any others and I follow this type of thing very closely.
Connor McDavid might not be the most famous hockey player in the world–that is likely Washington’s Alex Ovechkin–but he’s almost certainly the *best* hockey player on the planet. I’m sure most of you are aware of his accomplishments but if not, BetMGM’s press release has you covered with this quick bio:
McDavid burst onto the NHL scene in 2016 becoming the League’s youngest-ever captain at 19 years old. That same season he won the Art Ross Trophy as the League’s leading scorer, the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s MVP and the Ted Lindsay Award as the League’s best player. Only six seasons into his career, McDavid has won each of these awards multiple times and already is considered one of the sport’s greats.
You don’t get glossed with the nickname ‘McJesus’ unless you’re pretty good at hockey. Here’s the skinny on the relationship between #97 and BetMGM:
BetMGM, a leading sports betting and iGaming operator, announced today the signing of Connor McDavid, the National Hockey League’s reigning MVP, as its newest brand ambassador. McDavid becomes BetMGM’s first active professional athlete from the four major sports to become an ambassador. The All-Star center will be featured in BetMGM’s upcoming marketing campaigns, promotions, social media content and fan events.
You have to think that the timing of this announcement has everything to do with the launch of Ontario’s competitive mobile sports betting market on April 4. BetMGM will be entering Ontario–it was pretty much a foregone conclusion all along and it was confirmed in the most recent earnings call of Entain PLC (MGM Resorts’ partner in BetMGM) though the timeline is unclear. You’d think they’d want to be ready on launch day but that hasn’t been confirmed as of yet. The sports betting in the rest of Canada remains a lottery run monopoly but that will likely change after the other provinces wise up and realize the type of economic opportunity it affords them. That should take just a few revenue reports from Ontario.
Add this to the list of ‘signs that sports betting is seriously mainstream’. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when athletes in other sports follow McDavid’s lead. On one hand, I can’t imagine that the NFL, NBA and MLB will be overly enthused at the concept. On the other hand, it’ll be tough for them to veto a deal of this sort since they all have similar deals at the team and league level. You might hear some chafing about it in the mainstream sports media but maybe not–I was very surprised that there’s been so few ‘hand wringing’ articles about sports betting as it grows in popularity.
McDavid’s quote is pretty much what you’d expect out of him:
“I am very excited to partner with BetMGM as they continue to shape the future of sports betting. It’s also a real honor to be on the same BetMGM team with star athletes like Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Garnett, both of whom I admire very much.”
BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost welcomed McJesus to the team:
“The accomplishments that Connor already has earned on the ice is astonishing and we are excited to welcome him to the BetMGM family. We look forward to working together to engage BetMGM players across North America.”
Uh, that should be ‘The accomplishments that Connor already has earned on the ice **ARE** astonishing…’. You’d think that someone would have caught that in proofreading. Anyway, don’t be surprised to see BetMGM or a competitor work out a deal with Toronto Maple Leafs’ superstar Auston Matthews sooner rather than later.