Baseball players strike a deal with an unusual partner

The scorching days of summer are usually pretty calm for sportsbooks.

Soccer is by far the biggest sport to bet on in the United States (globally that title goes to soccer). Last year, the American Gaming Association estimated that 45.2 million Americans, or about one in seven, would bet on the 2021 NFL season.

Basketball is the second most popular sport to bet on in the United States and the third most popular sport to bet on in the world (behind tennis and football). The AGA estimates that around $10 billion is wagered on March Madness alone.

Baseball is a distant third in the United States in terms of betting popularity, and MLB happens to be the only major American sport that takes place during the summer months.

Of course, baseball has had some unfortunate experiences with the game over the years, including the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal to launch the World Series and Pete Rose’s permanent ban from the sport in 1989 for betting on games he managed.

But just because baseball doesn’t make a lot of money for sports betting doesn’t mean there aren’t other opportunities.

Enter MGM Resorts International (MGM) who announced that they are now the official partner of MLB Players Inc.

MGM partners with MLB Players, Inc.

MGM deals with the commercial arm of the Major League Baseball Players Association grants the casino gaming company use of players’ trademark and group marketing rights.

MGM now has rights to use player images and promotions in the United States, China and Japan.

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“As a leader in the gaming and hospitality industry, MGM Resorts is an ideal business partner for us. This collaboration reinforces the importance of leveraging gamers to facilitate marketing initiatives,” said Xavier D MLBPA COO James in a statement, “We look forward to building on this valuable and strategic relationship in the years to come.”

Part of the agreement also provides hospitality benefits to MLB players at MGM properties serving as the venue “for a variety of MLB player-related events.”

“This new partnership reinforces our commitment to the sport of baseball in the United States and around the world,” said Lance Evans, senior vice president of sports and sponsorships, MGM Resorts. We welcome the opportunity to welcome MLB players to our world-class resorts and create unique player experiences for our valued MGM Rewards members.

The MLB All Star Game will take place on Tuesday, July 19 in Los Angeles. The statement doesn’t say if the deal goes into effect for this season, but MGM doesn’t have any resorts or properties in Los Angeles anyway.

Expanding MLB Profile

The truth is that interest in Major League Baseball in the United States has been declining for decades.

With interest waning, the league sought different avenues to promote the game, including expanding its television partnerships.

Earlier this year, Apple AAPL announced that it would be resuming Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+ as a weekly double-header for the 2022 season for broadcast in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan , Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the UK

The games will be accompanied by live pre- and post-game shows which will be produced by Apple. Apple is also producing an MLB Big Inning, a “SportsCenter”-style live show that will feature highlights and live looks at current games for U.S. subscribers.

Subscribers in the United States and Canada will also have access to 24/7 live streaming featuring game replays, news and analysis, highlights and other MLB content.

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