Yahoo Sports, MGM Ink Multi-Year Sports-Betting Deal

The partnership will launch in November and include live events and broadcast productions

Verizon Media’s Yahoo Sports has entered into an exclusive multi-year partnership with BetMGM to power sports betting for Yahoo Sports and create what it’s calling “collaborative content experiences and live events.” As part of the deal, which kicks off next month, MGM Resorts and Yahoo Sports will collaborate on exclusive live events, broadcast productions, and promotional marketing efforts.

The integration will launch in the Yahoo Sports app in November, with transactions to take place on the BetMGM platform. Gaming will be available in the state of New Jersey first, with plans for expansion over time. Early next year, the integration will launch on the Yahoo Fantasy app. This integration will be available in the U.S. for a variety of global sports, including the NBA, NHL, football, college sports, baseball, soccer, golf, and tennis.

“The historic partnership with Yahoo Sports and BetMGM will change the future of fandom, providing new ways for sports fans to go beyond engaging with content and interact through commerce,” said Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan in making a joint announcement. “At Verizon Media, we believe in building products that connect consumers to their passions and drive the deepest end-to-end value possible.”

As part of this partnership, MGM Resorts and Yahoo Sports will collaborate on an array of content experiences, exclusive live events, and more than 20 high-profile major sports and promotional marketing efforts. MGM Resorts will also distribute Yahoo Sports content across its properties and platforms. Yahoo Sports will be hosting multiple-player events at MGM Resorts properties and will be an official Digital Media Sports Partner of MGM Resorts.

“This partnership marks an important moment for BetMGM in the growing U.S. sports-betting sector,” said MGM Resorts Chairmen/CEO Jim Murren. “Integrating Yahoo’s leading fantasy-sports operations and content with BetMGM’s world-class sports-betting and interactive platform uniquely positions us to drive market share and large-scale adoption among sports fans.”

The deal is expected to streamline Yahoo Sports users’ ability to make a wager via the platform, which attracts 60 million users a month and is heavily used by fantasy players. Yahoo Sports has also seen 68% growth in U.S. mobile-app visitors year-over-year.

“We have tens of millions of users engaging through Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Fantasy,” said Gowrappan. “Yahoo and BetMGM will provide fresh content and wagering opportunities, where legal, to Yahoo’s built-in fan base.”

The partnership continues to build on Verizon Media’s core strategy to connect its content directly to transactions — as Yahoo Sports has already done with its paid fantasy leagues and daily fantasy games.

“At Yahoo, we’re always looking at ways to reimagine and shape what the future looks like,” added Gowrappan. “We believe this is a very untapped opportunity in the industry, and, by combining Yahoo’s leadership in digital sports with BetMGM’s world-class betting platform, we are uniquely positioned to drive market share and large-scale adoption among sports fans.”

The deal marks the latest major sports-media outlet to dive into the sports-betting game following on the heels of Fox Sports (which launched Fox Bet with The Stars Group earlier this year), ESPN (partnering with Caesars Entertainment to launch a sports-betting–themed studio in Las Vegas), and others. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which acquired the former Fox Sports RSNs from Disney this year, is also expected to put a major emphasis on sports betting as more states legalize.

In the joint announcement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also chimed in on what the deal means for the industry.

“As sports betting continues to transform the industry, this partnership brings together the power of two trusted partners of the NBA,” said Silver. “By working together, MGM Resorts and Yahoo Sports will offer fans unprecedented ways to engage with our games.”

Said Bettman, “The expanding sports-betting landscape presents exciting opportunities to increase fan engagement and leverage emerging technologies. MGM Resorts, a valued partner of the NHL, along with Yahoo, a leading media brand, will connect fans to the action on the ice in new and innovative ways.”

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