As a spokesperson from PointsBet Canada said on Monday, when it comes to gaining market share in the soon-to-be robust and competitive Ontario sports betting market, the key will be how creative and strategic companies get.
The announcement Monday that PointsBet Ontario has joined the NHL Alumni Association as its exclusive sports betting partner in Canada in a multi-year deal (details of the financial component were not released) is an example of that.
PointsBet is also now the official partner of the NHLAA in the United States. The deal begins immediately and grants PointsBet Canada with the marketing and licensing rights to the NHLAA and the many iconic NHL Alumni across North America.
Like many other private operators, PointsBet Canada won’t be competing with behemoth legacy brands like DraftKings and their immense ad spend dollars, so it has to look at other ways to gain an edge when Ontario sports betting launches.
’An Authentically Canadian Experience’
“We can’t spend millions of dollars on a national advertising campaign,” PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner said. “We won’t be able to outspend these legacy brands with unlimited bankrolls. But we can do things differently. It’s almost a gift, spending our money more appropriately, needing to be different, as opposed to having the world as your oyster.
”Big picture, we’re about giving people an authentically Canadian experience. This announcement opens that door, an opportunity to activate on a local level.”
PointsBet will team with the alumni association as a whole, on a national level (charitable programs like Hockey Fight Cancer), but also specifically with former players, and programs and causes they are involved with.
It’s a smart NHL betting sponsorship and activation play, since Canada is a hockey country, and some of the big names of the NHL’s recent past are active with the alumni association — names such as Paul Coffey, Mike Vernon and Nicklas Lidstrom.
“The brand visibility and awareness here is a great thing for us, but if we are going to be authentically Canadian, we want to walk the walk,” Eichner said, “and this is an opportunity to do that.”
Earlier Deal with Curling Canada
PointsBet Canada announced a deal with Curling Canada in October.
Eichner points to PointsBet’s relationship with NBC Sports as another example of their more focused strategy, achieving market efficiency by using their spend on integrations during Football Night in America, before the game kicks off, and integrations during halftime.
The NHL Alumni Association is devoted to bettering the lives of all former NHL players and their families, which includes financial assistance, mental and emotional wellness support and physical care.
“The NHL Alumni Association has always been at the top of our list as PointsBet entered Canada,” Nic Sulsky, chief commercial officer of PointsBet Canada, said in a statement. “Saturday night hockey is an institution from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Being able to partner with … the countless other NHL Alumni that skated across our screens will allow us to deliver the authentically Canadian gaming experience that we want to bring sports fans.”
NHLAA President and Executive Director Glenn Healy said the NHLAA went with PointsBet in part because of the company’s commitment to responsible, legal gaming, a message former players will convey and the Alumni Association will communicate in their messaging.