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MGM Resorts places double bet on new gridiron league

Casino and sportsbook operator MGM Resorts will become the first ‘Official Sports Betting Sponsor’ and investor in a new American Football league, ‘The Alliance of American Football’.

Under a three-year deal, MGM’s interactive sports betting platform will provide Alliance fans with in-game and traditional sports betting in states where sports gambling is legal.

The Alliance – founded by television and film producer Charlie Ebersol, and NFL broadcast analyst Bill Polian – is building a bespoke media and technology platform as part of the league’s launch in February 2019. Fans will be able to stream Alliance matchups for free through its first-of-its-kind app, while accessing integrated gaming opportunities.

MGM’s investment is a bet that the combination of live sports, real-time second-generation stats and fan engagement will expand its customer base.

The Alliance will feature eight teams with 50-player rosters playing a 10-week regular season schedule, followed by two playoff rounds and culminating with the championship game the weekend of April 26-28, 2019.

The eight teams are Alliance Orlando, Alliance Atlanta, Alliance Memphis, Alliance Salt Lake, Alliance Phoenix, Alliance San Diego, Alliance Birmingham, and Alliance San Antonio.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.