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Caesars Entertainment Signs Promotional Deal With Chicago White Sox

James Murphy
by in MLB on
  • Caesars Entertainment has signed a promotional partnership deal with the Chicago White Sox involving their land based casinos in Illinois along with their Caesars Sportsbook sports betting platform.
  • Caesars Entertainment becomes the ‘Exclusive Casino Partner’ of the American League baseball team.
  • Caesars Sportsbook becomes an ‘Official Sports Betting Partner’ of the White Sox.

Caesars Sportsbook revealed that they managed to lose $400 million USD launching their sports betting platforms in New York and Louisiana (and I’m willing to wager that 75% or more of that loss was in New York) and in response they’ve cut $250 million USD from their advertising and marketing budget. Instead, they’re doing more ‘non traditional advertising’ which includes promotional partnerships with sports teams. Their latest deal is with the Chicago White Sox and involves their land based casinos in Illinois along with their Caesars Sportsbook platform.

Caesars Entertainment becomes the ‘Exclusive Casino Partner’ of the American League baseball team, which the company says ‘builds upon Caesars’ legacy in Illinois and northwest Indiana’. The company has seven properties in Illinois and Indiana:  In Illinois, Harrah’s Joliet, Harrah’s Metropolis, and Grand Victoria Casino Elgin. In Indiana, Horseshoe Hammond is closest to the Chicago area but they also have Horseshoe Indianapolis, Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Caesars Southern Indiana.

As for the sportsbook–Illinois was at one point the ‘poster child’ for overtaxed and over regulated jurisdictions everywhere. Due to the state’s population, however, it is really ‘too big to fail’ and a number of sports betting companies have found traction there. A couple of years in, and their taxation and regulatory structure doesn’t look as bad anymore–unfortunately, that’s due to even greater tax and regulatory excess in states like Connecticut and New York.

In both cases, a deal with the White Sox is a good tactical move for the company. DraftKings is in the process of building a retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field and you may see something of that sort from Caesars going forward. Meanwhile, Bally’s Corporation has apparently taken the city’s ‘sucker bet’ and will be building a casino in Chicago. It’s a good idea for CZR to occupy this space on the city’s professional sports chessboard prior to the construction of the new Bally’s property.

By now, you probably know what the drill about promotional deals of this sort:

Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Sportsbook, an authorized gaming operator of Major League Baseball, receive access to official Chicago White Sox logos and marks, rotational LED signage, digital and social media assets, as well as a variety of exclusive White Sox experiences available through the industry-leading loyalty program, Caesars Rewards. In addition, the partnership includes prominent, TV-visible fixed signage with a right field board featuring its premier gaming destinations and channel lettering affixed to the top of the left field video board, one of the first of its kind in the ballpark’s branding displays.

The White Sox will integrate Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Sportsbook into the team’s marketing efforts, team merchandise, and experiences going forward, while also bringing exciting offers and promotions directly to fans through the Caesars Sportsbook app. Sports fans across Illinois can download the newest version of the Caesars Sportsbook app on iOS or Android to take advantage of unmatched rewards.

Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, talked up the ‘iconic’ status of the White Sox:

“It’s a perfect time for Caesars to align with an iconic franchise like the Chicago White Sox. Some of the most passionate sports fans in the country call Illinois home. Caesars can provide White Sox fans and sports fans across the state with the very best in sports experiences through our world-class resorts and the recent relaunch of the Caesars Sportsbook app now available for mobile registration.”

I’m still not 100% convinced about the ROI of deals of this sort but without a bunch of internal data on how much they’re paying the White Sox, signup information, etc. it’s impossible to even estimate and Mr. Reeg hasn’t faxed that over to me yet (Tom–just email it). It almost has to be a bigger ‘bang for the buck’ than a blank check for traditional advertising and marketing in some of the most expensive media markets in the country. Chicago is the number three biggest market in the US behind New York and Los Angeles, so you know it ain’t cheap.

Brooks Boyer, White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer, gave the obligatory press release quote for the team:

“By teaming up with a globally recognized entertainment leader in Caesars, we are delivering the combined brand reputation and shared commitment to offer our fans an extraordinary sports and entertainment experience. With energized talent on the field, our partnership with Caesars enhances the excitement for our fans with new experiences and programs.”

Caesars Sportsbook is an authorized gaming operator of the MLB and is currently live in 24 states and jurisdictions—17 of which are mobile—and operates the largest number of retail sportsbooks across the United States. That statement is true, but the ‘number of retail sportsbooks’ is heavily padded by William Hill’s 100+ locations in Nevada.

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