First there was the PointsBet Canada sponsorship deal with the Ottawa Redblacks, and Thursday it’s BetRegal with a new two-year (plus an option for a third) sponsorship deal with the Grey Cup champ Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Expect more of these, with the start of the CFL season about a week away after the league's labor situation with its players was settled. For the individual CFL clubs, it’s a much-needed revenue source. While the actual number could not be confirmed, there are sponsor dollars from BetRegal flowing to the Bombers.
For sportsbooks like BetRegal, a deal like this is a natural partnership, since it is really playing up its Canadian roots going into a competitive Ontario sports betting market. BetRegal has yet to go live in the market.
BetRegal already has the CFL on board, announcing a multi-year sponsorship with the league last August. The sportsbook had a big presence at the Grey Cup in Hamilton last fall. Expect that presence to grow in Regina this fall for the 2022 Grey Cup Festival.
Sports betting and iGaming launched in Ontario on April 4.
The launch of single-event sports betting and Ontario online casinos appears to have been a success, but many wonder when BetRegal will launch in the province. DraftKIngs went live in the province on May 18 after receiving license approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario two days earlier.
2022 CFL Grey Cup Odds
How the Deal Came About
According to Aly Lalani, head of marketing for BetRegal, the Bombers' deal began to take shape during the Grey Cup in Hamilton, over breakfast involving Lalani, BetRegal CEO Mike Mirtl and Bombers President and CEO Wade Miller. The meeting was just 15 minutes, yet Lalani says it was like everyone had known each other for years.
“There was mutual, high-level interest right away,” Lalani said. “The Bombers communicated some of their visions about the betting partner they were looking for, and we were really aligned, especially in terms of education, introducing (betting) terminologies, doing some cool stuff in the community.”
While there isn’t a competitive sports betting market in Manitoba, like there is now in Ontario, Lalani says BetRegal sees the deal as an opportunity to build a foundation, especially a personal connection with the Bombers’ fan base.
It will allow users to bet for points, redeem them for merchandise and prizes, and really get the brand out there. Look for BetRegal lounges inside IG Field. There will be two premium seats at field level branded for BetRegal players.
“(Fans) can get the entire retail sporting betting lounge experience, with no risk,” Lalani said. “We really want to push that Canadian angle, that Canadian brand, in what we do."
Setting the Stage for Manitoba Betting
When the day comes that sports fans in Manitoba can bet for real, beyond the one current legal provider there (PlayNow.com), Lalani says there’s an understanding with the Bombers that BetRegal will be first in line as a strategic betting partner.
“We anticipate this is going to be a long-term relationship,” Lalani said. “I think there is an understanding about the potential value proposition that gambling companies can offer. And I don’t just mean advertising money sponsorship. I mean the actual integration of content and games, and enhanced experience that gambling provides (for sports fans).
”Anyone who’s ever had $5 on a game can speak to what it feels like, when you’re cheering for your team and there’s two minutes left in a game. Overall, we think there’s a significant amount of growth available (with the CFL), because quite frankly it’s an awesome game. The last thing we are looking for is a billboard. We are looking for partners that are interested in strategically integrating with us, finding cool ways to speak to the audience, and the Bombers are a great example of that.”
The CFL kicks off its 2022 season on June 9 with the Montreal Alouettes taking on the Calgary Stampeders. The Blue Bombers open the next night, hosting the Ottawa Redblacks.