Major League Baseball – let us be the first to officially welcome you to the world of sports betting. Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that it had reached a partnership with MGM Resorts International. Baseball now follows in the footsteps of the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League – as North American professional sports leagues that have partnered with MGM.
While Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred spoke in only broad terms regarding the details of the deal – he assured the public at a recent press conference that the integrity of the game will still remain intact. While the MLB and MGM still have to fine tune the specifics and detail the regulations surrounding the deal – Manfred did acknowledge that, going forward, MGM will now have a presence at core MLB events like the All-Star Game and World Series.
While the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed – reportedly, the amount of money the MLB will be making out of the partnership is substantial. Moreover, Commissioner Manfred noted that he is hopeful that MLB sports betting will lead to bigger fan engagement – which may work at counteracting declining baseball attendance. Both parties believe that the more that fans have at stake during a game – the more positive the effect will be with regards to fan engagement and attendance.
MGM, on the other hand, will be given access to the MLB’s broadcast and digital platforms – which will allow MGM to promote its gaming relationship with the MLB on MLB Network and other MLB related platforms like MLB.com and it’s At-Bat app.
In addition, it is believed that the MLB will give MGM access to certain enhanced statistics, which will apparently assist MGM in setting appropriate betting lines on games. This will certainly give MGM a huge edge when it comes to MLB gambling – especially over its competitor gambling entities. Time will only tell if this statistical sharing element becomes part of future deals in other sports.
At this point it is unclear what players and fans will specifically get out of the deal. In all likelihood, the MLB Players Association will probably get some sort of small piece out of the deal. For fans, however, they will still have to adhere to their respective state’s sports gambling laws; so, this deal won’t end up circumventing those established rules.
The deal between the MLB and MGM seems to signal quite the 180-degree turnaround by Major League Baseball – who at one point was very averse to sports gambling. No word yet on whether or not MLB’s partnership will affect Pete Rose’s hall-of-fame chances. In any event, having a powerful entity, like the MLB, in a partnership with MGM will only help to speed up the legalization of sports betting throughout the country. Welcome to the big leagues!