Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Lines Up Another Partnership; Latest Is with PointsBet

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Lines Up Another Partnership; Latest Is with PointsBet
By Mark Keast

Get those Gordie Howe elbows up, there’s another sportsbook that has skated into the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment space for Ontario sports betting.

On Monday morning, PointsBet Canada and MLSE announced a new multi-year partnership, with the sports betting company now designated as an Official Sports Betting Partner of the mammoth sports and entertainment company.

On Friday, MLSE announced a similar deal with FanDuel Sportsbook and PokerStars. And Saturday night, sitting 25 rows from the ice at Scotiabank Centre, as the Leafs took on the Montreal Canadiens, there was the first sign it was real - a FanDuel rink board ad, located next to one of the penalty boxes.

On April 4, PointsBet Canada launched in Ontario’s new regulated market, accepting its first bet just 50 seconds after the province’s sports betting market went live.

MLSE owns the Leafs, Raptors Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, and the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, as well as the minor-league farm teams for the Leafs, Raptors and FC. The company also owns Scotiabank Centre, OVO Athletic Centre, with investments and management involvement in BMO Field, Coca-Cola Coliseum (home of the AHL Marlies) and Lamport Stadium.

Monday morning’s deal makes one wonder: When talking sportsbooks, how does the FanDuel Ontario MLSE deal differ from the PointsBet deal?

PointsBet Points to NHL Alumni Deal

One way to answer that, according to Patrick Eichner, a spokesperson for PointsBet Canada, is to look at PointsBet’s January announcement of a multi-year deal with the NHL Alumni Association, designating it as the exclusive sports betting partner of the NHLAA in Canada.

Eichner says the MLSE deal is a co-exclusive one, basically the same deal as the one announced with FanDuel. PoinstBet will have the same in-arena access and capabilities for signage and promotion that FanDuel has, according to a news release.

Differing will be in how creative PointsBet can get in areas like its relationship with the NHLAA. On Saturday night, formers Leafs great Rick Vaive was on hand at the game, and on the big screen at center ice (Auston Matthews just broke the former Leaf's single-season goal scoring mark — 56). Former NHL stars are omnipresent at Leafs games.

“The NHLAA relationship is a good one to point to, since that will allow us to really amplify,” he said. That NHLAA promotion will also expand onto social media platforms as well, he added.

A Rare Opportunity for PointsBet

PointsBet CEO Scott Vanderwel noted in the release that this deal offers “year-round entertainment within the sports market in Canada.”

“This is a historic deal for PointsBet Canada,” Scott Vanderwel, chief executive officer of PointsBet Canada, said in the release. “You rarely get the opportunity to partner with an organization that spans across all four professional leagues through the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts. We are thrilled to be partnering with MLSE on this innovative and exciting relationship.”

Added Nic Sulsky, chief commercial officer for PointsBet Canada, also in the release: “MLSE’s franchises are some of our country’s most iconic teams. We are excited to partner with an organization where winning and delivering championships is part of their DNA and resonates with fans across Ontario and Canada.”

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Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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