Brees, PointsBet Debut On ‘Sunday Night Football’

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On Friday, PointsBet made the not-so-unexpected announcement that its sports betting data would be integrated into Sunday Night Football’s pre- and post-game telecasts on NBC and Peacock, starting with the Week 1 Los Angeles Rams-Chicago Bears game at SoFi Stadium (nee Hollywood Park). Prior to that announcement, NBC had taken a 4.99% equity stake in the sportsbook, which has its U.S. headquarters in Denver, and PointsBet subsequently signed NBC football analyst Drew Brees on as a brand ambassador, further cementing its partnership with the network.

“We know viewers who are sports bettors are more engaged with the game throughout the broadcast, and PointsBet offers more opportunities for players to stay involved,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a press release. “We are just getting started, and we are excited to do it together with premium partners.”

Brees, the ex-New Orleans Saints quarterback, was plenty present during the Football Night in America pre-game show on Sunday. PointsBet? Not so much. About the only time the sportsbook took center stage was during a “PointsBet Pulse” segment in which Brees went over the odds for Defensive Player of the Year. This made sense because Rams lineman Aaron Donald is the favorite at odds of +500.

“I’ve actually heard one defensive lineman say that when you go up against him, you have no chance,” said Brees, whose former team smoked the Packers in Jacksonville on Sunday. (Hilariously and effectively, the hurricane-refugee Saints chose to play their home opener in Jacksonville based primarily on how difficult it was for Green Bay fans to travel there.)

McLovin, Applebee’s, Red Ryder …

PointsBet popped up again during Brees’ “Live Your Bet Life” in-game ad. But PointsBet wasn’t the only one of the NFL’s new sportsbook partners to have an in-game spot Sunday night — fans also saw ads from BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings, the latter of which featured Martin Lawrence and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (a.k.a. McLovin) in a commercial for its DFS product. Otherwise, “eatin’ good in the neighborhood” was the name of the game, with Applebee’s dominating sponsorship screen time.

Peacock’s post-game show was more engaging from a sports betting standpoint, displaying PointsBet’s odds on when Bears rookie backup Justin Fields would replace Andy “Red Ryder” Dalton as the team’s starting quarterback following its loss to the Rams. The lowest odds are +200 vs. Detroit in Week 4, but the consensus among Peacock host Chris Simms and his cohorts seemed to be minus a million on ASAP.

Indeed, this is just the beginning for PointsBet’s partnership with NBC. It still seems like a masterstroke with tremendous long-term potential. The fact that sports betting operators are sanctioned partners of the NFL is historic. But maybe next time, Brees could wear a lapel pin or a tie with Pointsbet’s logo on it, as nothing sells a brand on television like slyly redundant visual cues.

New corporate headquarters

Last Thursday, PointsBet officially opened its corporate headquarters in Denver. Located in the “LoDo” neighborhood, the 17,000-square-foot space offers views of Mile High Stadium and Coors Field, according to a company press release. PointsBet currently employs 200 people in Denver.

PointsBet hosted representatives from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the University of Colorado, and TPC Colorado, in addition to local businesses. PointsBet last year was the first sports betting operator to partner with a college, and as part of the deal, the Buffaloes will get a cut for every customer referred to PointsBet.

PointsBet-Denver-Office-Opening
(Courtesy of PointsBet)

Since PointsBet decided to move its North American headquarters to Denver, the company has deepened its ties to the state, and currently also has partnerships with the NBA Nuggets, NHL Avalanche, the National Lacrosse League, and TPC Colorado.

Mike Seely has written about horse racing for The Daily Racing Form and America’s Best Racing, and has contributed pieces on a multitude of topics to The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among other publications. He can be reached at mseely@bettercollective.com.

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