Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. and MSG Entertainment have entered into a multi-faceted sponsorship and content deal with Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Sportsbook that offers the sportsbook brand a prized position on the New York sports betting landscape.
The multi-year deal provides Caesars access to both the New York Knicks of the NBA and the New York Rangers of the NHL, as well as advertising and branding at Madison Square Garden.
It also includes bringing J.B. Smoove back to the MSG Network airwaves with a new show featuring the comedic actor’s role as a Caesars Sportsbook ambassador.
The Caesars deal comes on the heels of a prior partnership between MSG and BetMGM, as the N.Y. sports behemoth continues the trend of splitting the sports betting sponsorship category among multiple partners. Caesars will have signage on the sidelines and in areas of the arena, and BetMGM will have branding on the basketball stanchions and pole pads, MSG sources told Gaming Today.
Caesars Sportsbook becomes an official sports betting partner of MSG Sports, which gives Caesars signage in the arena during sporting events, as well as branding at a premium club seating area in The Garden’s lower bowl during Knicks and Rangers games. Caesars also receives on-court, on-ice, scoreboard, and billboard branding that is typical with deals such as this.
The programming with Smoove is a unique feature of the relationship.
Beginning in 2013, Smoove hosted a show called “Four Courses with J.B. Smoove” on MSG Network. The program was popular with viewers in the region, and the comedian/actor/producer often shared his love for New York sports on the show.
Smoove will interview celebrities and athletes on the new program, to be co-produced by Caesars Entertainment. Prior to the start of the current NFL Season, Smoove began appearing in commercials for the sportsbook, playing the role of “Caesar”.
Smoove called Madison Square Garden “the mecca for NYC” in an interview with MSG Network during the Knicks-Magic game at The Garden on Wednesday. His program on MSG will be sponsored in part by Caesars Sportsbook and contain sports betting content.
Sources at MSG have told Gaming Today the company will unveil an ambitious slate of new programming in the coming months and years that will appeal to sports fans interested in betting.
Status Of Sports Betting In New York
It’s expected that New York will launch commercial sportsbooks online and in retail locations like casinos and racetracks early in 2022.
In October, the state of New York granted licensing approval to nine sportsbooks, a list that includes Caesars, BetMGM, Bally Bet, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Resorts World, and WynnBet. The New York Gaming Commission is recommending 10-year licenses for these sportsbooks.
New York will require a 51% tax rate on gross gambling revenue, making it one of the highest tax rates in the country. The Caesars and BetMGM deals with MSG indicate the high tax rate is not preventing sportsbooks from spending significant dollars in marketing.
There is reason to think a sportsbook can profit in New York even with such slim operating margins. The volume of sports betting in the state is could be the largest in the country. A study released by the New York State Comptroller’s office predicts the state could generate $493 million in tax revenue annually by 2025.