MGM Resorts to be exclusive in-game gambling partner of AAF
September 10, 2018 9:33 AM
by Robert Mann
MGM Resorts International will be the exclusive in-game gambling partner of the Alliance Of American Football (AAF) for the next three seasons, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.
A formal announcement, expected this week, comes about a month after MGM signed a deal to be the official gaming partner of the NBA gaining non-exclusive access to the league’s official data feed and branding rights. Rovell says this new deal marks the first time any sports organization has sold exclusive in-game betting rights to a sportsbook.
The AAF says it has signed 332 players and assigned them to teams in eight cities – Orlando, Atlanta, Memphis, Birmingham, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego. The league's first game will be played Feb. 9 and be televised on CBS.
The AAF has an in-house tech team building a gambling product that, in addition to allowing the gambler to watch a game on an app, will allow betting on it simultaneously on the same screen. The app will also allow the league's exclusive gaming partner to better price in-game odds by building a data set that correlates the likelihood of a certain bet winning, according to Rovell.
The formation of the AAF was announced on March 20, 2018, by filmmaker Charlie Ebersol. The league, in which all eight teams are centrally owned and operated, will be overseen by former NFL general manager Bill Polian, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and executive J.K. McKay. Announced league advisers include former Steelers receiver Hines Ward, former New York Giants and Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck, and Ebersol's father, retired NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol.
Billionaire professional wrestling impresario, Vince McMahon, is also planning an additional new football league reviving his former professional league. The WWE chairman announced in January that he was re-launching the XFL and reportedly sold $100 million in WWE stock to provide initial league funding.
The original XFL operated for only season in 2001. McMahon’s new league is slated to begin playing games in 2020.