- Arizona’s Gila River Resorts has announced a deal with Phoenix Suns star Jae Crowder to serve as a brand ambassador.
- Gila River Resorts operates three gaming properties in the Phoenix area.
- Crowder is the first professional athlete to sign a promotional deal with Gila River Resorts.
Sportbooks and other gaming properties have been forming promotional partnerships with professional leagues and teams since the very beginning of the ‘new era’ in the United States. A more recent trend is to sign up individual athletes as ‘brand ambassadors’. In late March, BetMGM announced a promotional partnership with NHL superstar Connor McDavid who became the first active professional athlete from a major North American team sport to sign a promotional deal with a sportsbook. You can expect many more to come.
The most recent contract of this type comes from Arizona’s Gila River Resorts. Owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community, Gila River Resorts is the largest gaming company in the Phoenix area and operates three casinos–Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva. A fourth casino–Santan Mountain–is slated to open later this year. Last August, Gila River Resorts signed a market access agreement with BetMGM with the first retail sportsbook opening at the Gila River Vee Quiva property in November.
Earlier today, Gila River Resorts announced that they had signed Phoenix Suns’ forward Jae Crowder as a brand ambassador. A press release announcing the deal explained why Gila River was impressed with Crowder:
Crowder is the first professional athlete to engage in an endorsement deal with GRRC. As Arizona’s Official Sports Headquarters, GRRC was attracted to his fearless competitive nature and fierce swagger which is the epitome of Gila River’s “You Do You” mantra. The gaming enterprise also aligns with his winning spirit which is reflective of Gila River’s winning experience for guests.
A powerful forward with the Phoenix Suns, Crowder has helped the team reach the NBA playoffs for the last two seasons. In addition to being a star athlete, he is big on giving back to the community and is also a budding entrepreneur. His lifestyle clothing brand Bossmann is an expression of his personality to unapologetically be yourself which is complementary to Gila River’s mantra, “You Do You.”
Dominic Orozco, president and chief marketing officer at Gila River Resorts & Casinos, is pleased that his company is involved with Crowder:
“Jae Crowder is a bossman, and we are honored to have him as our first-ever brand icon. Gila River is celebrating its new resorts designation in a big way with Jae. His talent, drive, and vision with his business manager, Josh Mason, is unmatched. We are excited to welcome Jae as our new teammate to the Gila River family.”
Crowder clearly feels a personal connection with his new partners at Gila River:
“I have a vision of growing with Gila River as we have a lot of things in common. Being an athlete at the highest level with one of the best teams in the NBA, it is important to grow my local relationships with people whom I am comfortable with and believe in.”
Crowder’s first duty as brand ambassador will be to host the Summer Oasis Pool Party at Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. This exclusive concert series will feature celebrity DJs the last Saturday of each month from May through September at the resort’s new Oasis Pool.