The Stars Group announced Tuesday that it had signed a multiyear partnership agreement with the NBA, one that focuses primarily on the company’s sports betting operations, but which does make mention of online poker site PokerStars as well.
The terms of the deal make The Stars Group an authorized gaming operator of the NBA in the United States, allowing it to use league logos and symbols along with official league data across BetStars and other sports betting sites.
Stars Group Joins MGM as NBA Gaming Partner
This is the second time that the NBA has partnered with a major gaming operator. Over the summer, the NBA announced that it MGM Resorts International would be the league’s official gaming partner, though many aspects of the deal were non-exclusive, allowing the NBA to sign deals with The Stars Group and other operators.
For The Stars Group, however, this is the first deal the gaming firm has made with a professional sports league in the USA.
“Our partnership with the NBA, including access to NBA’s real-time data and intellectual property, further enhances consumer confidence in our offering and acts as an official endorsement of our BetStars sportsbook offering here in the States,” The Stars Group senior vice president of strategy and operations US Matt Primeaux told ESPN.
NBA, Stars Group to Promote Brands Together
As part of the deal, the NBA will promote The Stars Group on NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App, and on social media. That’s likely to primarily be used to drive traffic to BetStars, but could also include PokerStars or other assets that the company wants to spotlight in states where it is active. Conversely, The Stars Group will also promote the NBA across its sites, which will include PokerStars.
“The Stars Group is an accomplished global online gaming leader and we are excited to work with them on their first US sports league partnership,” Scott Kaufman-Ross, head of fantasy and gaming for the NBA, said in a statement. “This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars’ global expertise to further optimize the fan experience.”
The Stars Group is already operating both poker and sports betting sites in New Jersey, and is in the licensing process to be able to the same in Pennsylvania alongside its land-based partner, Mount Airy Casino Resort.
Deals such as these are part of The Stars Group’s increasing reliance on sports betting as a driver for growth. While poker remains the largest part of the company for now, 2018 has seen the internet gaming giant take a greater interest in its bookmaking operations.
That has meant more than just improving the reach of BetStars. In February, The Stars Group purchased a controlling interest in Australian betting brand Crownbet. That was followed up with the acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming in April, giving the group control of one of the largest online sportsbooks in the UK.