The Arizona Cardinals schedule for the 2021-22 season is now out. Cardinals fans will have to wait until Week 2 to see their favorite NFL team play its home opener, and that won’t be the only event of note happening at State Farm Stadium that day.
On that day, a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at the venue will also likely open its doors. The big question about that which lurks unanswered is which sportsbook operator will handle the daily operations on Arizona’s behalf. There are some clear frontrunners.
Will the start of the next Arizona Cardinals schedule also debut a BetMGM AZ sportsbook?
If you’re looking for tea leaves to read, then BetMGM Sportsbook might have the most green. It’s certainly spending that way. BetMGM already has “official sports betting partner” status with five NFL franchises. It’s unclear how much each deal costs.
That does suggest, however, that BetMGM might be willing to open up the wallet again here. As it isn’t one of the NFL’s “tri-exclusive” sports betting partners, landing partnerships of this kind with as many individual NFL franchises is the next-best thing as far as getting maximum exposure to NFL fans goes.
There isn’t much to infer from any forthcoming relationship between BetMGM and the Cardinals, though. Arizona sold its “official hotel and casino partner” label to Gila River Hotels & Casinos in 2019. Gila River Gaming Enterprises has no existing relationship with any sportsbook.
Additionally, that’s the sum total of any gambling partnerships the Cardinals have ever gotten into. Merely because of BetMGM’s resources and track record of closing deals like this, however, they have to be a serious contender here. They aren’t alone, though.
Don’t sell on PointsBet yet
Another prominent operator in several jurisdictions that’s likely to get in on the Arizona sports betting action is PointsBet Sportsbook. PointsBet hasn’t been as active in adding NFL franchises to its roster. To date, that includes just the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.
However, PointsBet has an ace up its sleeve that BetMGM and others can’t boast; a media partnership with one of the NFL’s broadcast partners. On the company’s most recent earnings call, PointsBet CEO Sam Swanell said that the partnership with NBC has lead to hundreds of thousands of leads.
NBC just re-upped its deal for Sunday Night Football with the league. As part of the revised rights, it has more freedom to offer NFL content on its OTT product, Peacock. PointsBet has benefitted from Peacock as well, being part of gambling-centric content on the service.
While that may not seem to have a lot to do with running the retail sportsbook at State Farm Stadium at face value, it very well could. PointsBet hasn’t been shy about making shares on the Australian stock exchange a part of its value for partners in the past.
It could offer the same to Arizona and thus the Cardinals would have an interest in the company’s fate at large. Additionally, this deal is a lot bigger than just the brick-and-mortar sportsbook, regardless of who is running it.
Why the Cardinals are such an attractive partner
First off, they’re an NFL franchise. That’s really all that needs to be said. Even if AZ law didn’t allow for the team to obtain a legal Arizona sports betting license and farm those duties out to a vendor like BetMGM or PointsBet, just getting onto the list of sponsors would have great value for a gambling company.
Add to that the fact that a deal with Arizona not only gets the brand into State Farm Stadium for retail wagering but statewide for online betting as well. That’s truly the most desirable part of the deal for BetMGM, PointsBet, or any of their competitors.
Finally, Super Bowl LVII will be played at the stadium in February of 2023. There will be no better event to promote a sportsbook around. The brand that has its logo and name plastered around the stadium stands to benefit the most.
This might be an opportunity for a sports betting company that has largely stayed on the sidelines when it’s come to marketing itself by running in-stadium sportsbooks like BetRivers or Unibet. BetMGM and PointsBet, however, seem like they’re starting off in the opponent’s territory.
With the Arizona Cardinals schedule now out for the 2021 season, the next question to be answered is how football fans will potentially be able to bet on games.