A recent deal struck between the owners of MGM Resorts – the most popular US sports betting app – and the NFL Players Association allows active players to advertise for MGM casinos in Maryland and beyond.
MGM Resorts, which owns 50% of BetMGM, went public last month with its multi-year NFLPA agreement, making it the NFL’s official hospitality and strategic partner.
MGM Resorts, NFL sponsorship comes with limits
Lance Evans, Senior Vice President of Sports & Sponsorships, MGM Resorts, said in a press release that the NFLPA partnership was “another indication of our strong commitment to the great sport of football.”
Evans also pointed out that the NFLPA and MGM Resorts would work together to create opportunities for guests to engage with players and NFL alumni to produce partnered content and host player-related events at MGM properties. More opportunities will also take place around the 2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games and Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas and the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.
As stated in the MGM press release, both active and former NFL players will be qualified to sign individual brand ambassador deals to promote MGM Resorts. Not permitted for the players, however, is to promote BetMGM or any other MGM sports betting businesses.
5 Maryland-based NFL players who’d make great MGM ambassadors
When it comes to MGM National Harbor, MGM Resorts has plenty of Maryland-based MGM ambassador options.
So, we’ve taken the liberty of listing five NFL players with panache, charisma, and ties to Maryland that would make great MGM spokespeople.
Jonathon Allen is a powerhouse defensive tackle for the Washington Commanders and was voted among the top 100 NFL players in 2022. He’s passionate about gaming and investing in youth communities. Allen is always on the lookout to partner with tech-focused companies and foundations to expand his charitable work.
Terry McLaurin is considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He played college football at Ohio State and was drafted by the Commanders in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft Pick. Last year, “Scary Terry” signed a $71 million contract extension with Washington. Additionally, McLaurin makes dreams come true for kids in the DC area through his “Dream Catchers Fund.”
Lead quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting players in the NFL. Even though he’s notoriously media shy, he’d likely still make a superb MGM ambassador. Jackson was the first and youngest Louisville player to win the Heisman.
Despite only appearing in eight regular season games this year due to injury, JK Dobbins is the lead running back for the Baltimore Ravens. He had an illustrious career at Ohio State and is loved by Ravens fans. Confident and outspoken, Dobbins is known to be vocal about his team’s performances. He aired his frustrations following the Ravens’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round last month. His knack for engaging with fans via social media and other venues would make him an excellent MGM spokesperson.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, Rashod Bateman, was the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. While discussing his leadership style in an interview last summer, the 23-year-old said he admittedly doesn’t talk much, and instead leads by example. He tries to always be the first on the field, work hard at practice, and give his best every time. As a child, Bateman witnessed his mother being physically abused by his stepdad and has been outspoken about domestic issues.
MGM already has one ambassador deal
Regardless of which NFL player MGM selects as its newest face of the brand, this won’t be the American footballer partnered with the company.
MGM Resorts International inked its first ambassador deal with Las Vegas Raiders receiver Davante Adams in September 2022. The deal, however, precludes him from any involvement in BetMGM or related sports betting businesses.
A number of former NFL players including Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders also act as brand ambassadors for BetMGM. What’s more, the company has an active-athlete sponsorship deal in the NHL with Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDonald.
Gina Scott, Vice President of Partner Services for the NFLPA, said:
“NFL players, past and present, will be at the heart of unforgettable new experiences through MGM Resorts International’s rewards program.”
NFL rules prohibit players from gambling
These player partnerships don’t happen without some strict guidelines from the NFL. The close relationship players and coaches have with sportsbooks is a heated subject these days. As such, the NFL has strict rules against active players engaging in sports betting.
New York Jets receivers coach Miles Austin III was banned from the NFL last December for playing online casino games and betting on sports other than football.
Under the NFL’s gambling policy, neither activity is permitted.
Calvin Ridley, a former Atlanta Falcons player was slapped with an indefinite suspension last year for betting on games during the 2021 season. Shortly after his suspension, Ridley was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With such guidelines in place, the NFL hopes to create a healthy environment where players can promote brands while safeguarding themselves from potential issues at the same time.