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Sports Law

Pro League Commissioners and Owners Now Open to Legal Sports Betting

The most common argument that professional leagues and team owners made in opposition to the legalization of sports betting is that sports betting would ruin the integrity of the game.  Billions of dollars are wagered on sports illegally without sports being tainted, so this claim largely was a public relations move.  Recently, with the United States Supreme Court looking at whether theProfessional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is constitutional, team owners and league commissioners are softening their stances on sports betting or actively pursuing its legalization.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said:

NBA Commissioner Dan Silver said in 2014 that he was in favor for the legalization of sports betting.  In 2016, former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who was steadfast against the legalization of sports betting when he was the active commissioner, has since changed his mind saying, “Over time, I’ve come to accept the notion that a properly run gambling operation, or gaming as we like to say in Las Vegas, is protective and not deleterious to the health of sports.”


Ringside Analysis:

The NFL had to come to terms with sports betting most recently when the Raiders decided to move from Oakland to Las Vegas.  Goodell and other owners had been against a NFL team in Vegas because of the obvious connections to sports betting.  But even leading up to the official announcement Goodell’s stance on sports betting seemed to soften.  He said that there would be a benefit to regulating sports betting, which would only happen the way he discussed it if it were legalized nation-wide, even though the league still opposes sports betting.  The NFL will also not ask for sports books to not take bets on Raiders games.  A canary in the coal mine moment was when ESPN was able to post betting lines on NFL games.  That may not seem like a big deal but the NFL once pulled media as part of an effort to get ESPN to cancel a show called “Playmakers” that painted professional football in a fictitious league as detrimental to the NFL.

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Holly Holm Leads UFC On Fox To Best Ever Summer Rating

Holly Holm is a former UFC bantamweight champion but most sports fans know her as the woman who beat Ronda Rousey.  Holm lost her first title defense to Miesha Tate and her loss to Valentina Shevchenko has her looking at a losing streak.  However, Holm drove the UFC on FOX to the highest ratings in company history.

According to MMA Fighting, the last three rounds of Holm’s fight against Shevchenko drew 4.687 million viewers.  That number is good for the fifth-best UFC on FOX event but is the highest rated UFC on FOX rating during the summer months.

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Report: NHL Choose Las Vegas for Expansion

Report: NHL Choose Las Vegas for Expansion


Monster Energy Renews Sponsorship With Bellator MMA

Monster Energy has renewed a partnership with Bellator MMA to remain the official energy drink of Bellator.  

The biggest proclamation that Monster has made with Bellator, and the UFC, is the ability to put the Monster “M” in the middle of the octagon.  There are also other forms of activation and promoting other programs sponsored by Monster called the “Monster Energy Cup.”

Monster also sponsors Bellator athletes Phil Davis, Quinton Jackson, Joe Schilling, Michael Chandler, Joey Beltran, and Brennan Ward.

From the press release:

Monster will continue to own highly visible inventory inside the Bellator cage and sponsor concourse activations during events as well as additional off-site promotional activations. To complement the live event experience, Monster and Bellator will look to engage in a multi-faceted activation plan intended to build customer loyalty and drive tune-in of the Bellator broadcasts on Spike. The sponsorship extension will also see Bellator MMA continue to put on fights during the “Monster Energy Cup” – an event that showcases the world’s top supercross riders in a head to-head battle for the coveted “Monster Energy Cup” award and the chance to win one million dollars.

“Monster Energy is the ultimate lifestyle brand that puts its fans first – which aligns perfectly with our philosophy at Bellator,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “They are an ideal partner and we look forward to continuing to link our high-energy action-packed events with their world-class product.”

In 2015, Monster Energy signed a multi-year agreement to be the official energy drink sponsor of the UFC, which was valued at $7 million.  Monster Energy also sponsors Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor, Anthony Pettis, and Johny Hendricks.

Ringside Analysis:

Monster Energy is all in on MMA by buying the energy drink category in the two biggest MMA companies.  With television and sports being so segmented it has never been more important for companies to pick their most dedicated target market and to buy as much marketing placement and promotions possible.  For example, Dr. Pepper and Chik-Fil-A are fully committed to college football by buying advertising slots and brand activation on tv programming.  In the NBA, Kia has taken the official sponsorship for beverage and in doing so have placed their cars in the NBA Dunk contest, buying advertising spots during games and other tv programming, and sponsoring athletes as well as including them in Kia commercials.

Also of note, Bellator President Scott Coker emphasized that, like Monster, Bellator puts the consumer and athletes first, which is why Bellator still allows fighters in their program to get their own sponsors for their fight apparel.