Laying The Points: What PointsBet Deal With Detroit Tigers Means For Michigan Sports Bettors

Posted By Marco Cerino on July 9, 2020
PointsBet Michigan Sports Betting Johnny Aitken

PointsBet Sportsbook became the first sports betting company to partner with a Major League Baseball franchise when they signed a sponsorship deal with the Detroit Tigers last week. 

The Australian-based oddsmakers began American operations in 2019 in New Jersey and have since expanded to Iowa. Michigan launched legal sports betting this year but so far only offers it in person.

The deal will mean Tigers fans will see and hear a lot about PointsBet when the AL Central team resumes play later this month. Signage will be visible in Comerica Park and digital content will be available for Tigers fans to consume as well.

For PointsBet, they become the first gaming outlet to receive the Authorized Gaming Operator designation, with access to official MLB data, logos, and trademarks.

“We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers,” said Chris Granger, Group President, Sports & Entertainment, of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., in a statement. “Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come.”

Michigan a major market for PointsBet

For PointsBet, this may be the biggest thing they’ve done stateside since launching operations last year. Most of the deals with other major North American sports leagues have come from established names like Caesars or MGM.

Baseball is often guarded and slow to adapt historically. So getting an Australian sports betting brand with a breadth of content and options with a founding member of the American League is like the sports betting equivalent of Balki and Larry on Perfect Strangers.

In speaking with PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken this week, he noted the significance of the deal in the company’s forward vision. PointsBet will also launch their online casino in Michigan, following the precedent of other gaming competitors like DraftKings and FanDuel.

“It’s a state of huge significance for PointsBet,” Aitken said of Michigan. “It’s a state that provides for us the opportunity to be on the starting line with our competitors.”

The company is also looking to expand operations to Illinois and Colorado, which both have online books operating currently.

Despite coming from overseas, PointsBet knows the importance of American sports. Aitken said 40 percent of handle in Australia comes from American sports leagues and tours. Baseball has always been a major betting sport in regulated and unregulated markets, especially during traditional summers in which they’re the only of the Big 4 in play for weeks at a time. 

PointsBet will have a local flavor

PointsBet has emerged as one of the most versatile in the United States, with the Name-a-Bet option that allows players to devise their own props or markets. Like in the Garden State, they want to “localize” the experience for bettors. 

“We’ll have featured markets when you open PointsBet in Michigan,” Aitken said. “They won’t feature the Yankees and Knicks, it’ll be the Pistons and the Red Wings and the Tigers and the Lions. I think it’s really important to connect with not only the US bettor but the local bettor. You really need to present them with a heavily localized offering with what’s important to them.”

The Tigers know they’ll be playing ball later this month. As for PointsBet, there is still no set launch date as regulations are still in the works. 

PointsBet has done well in attracting new fans with the usage of “brand ambassadors” like former Sixers star Allen Iverson and former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis

So who could serve as a “host” in the Motor City? Rip Hamilton? Calvin Johnson? Kid Rock? Aitken doesn’t have any names as of yet but believes the market deserves someone with local affiliation to welcome players and introduce them to the vast offerings of PointsBet.

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