NBA basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers and NHL ice hockey franchise the New Jersey Devils have signed multi-year sponsorship agreements with Bwin.party, making them the first US professional sports teams to enter into commercial deals with an online gambling company.
A news conference is scheduled for today (Thursday) at the Devils’ Prudential Center home to confirm the partnerships, under which the Josh Harris-owned teams will promote the gambling company’s PartyPoker brand.
“We are proud to welcome PartyPoker to our family as we embark on an exciting journey with an innovative, global leader in the digital marketplace,” 76ers and Devils chief executive Scott O'Neil said. “As an organisation, we will continue to align with brands that aspire to grow with us, in true partnership.”
Bwin chief executive Norbert Teufelberger pledged to offer fans of both teams a range of digital content and exclusive game-day experiences, while both the NHL and NBA are in favour of the partnership. “As long as the gambling site doesn't include sports gambling or sports betting, it's now allowed within our rules,” NBA vice president Mark Tatum said in a statement released to the Associated Press news agency.
New Jersey became the third US state to authorise internet gambling last year, following Nevada and Delaware, in a bid to boost Atlantic City’s ailing casino industry.