Caesars, Fiesta Bowl Strike First Sports Betting Partnership Involving College Bowl Game

Caesars Entertainment and the Fiesta Bowl have reached an agreement whereby the casino operator will provide fantasy sports and sports betting services. It marks the first partnership between a gaming company and a college bowl game.

fiesta bowl
fiesta bowl
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence scampers down the sideline during the 2019 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Caesars is partnering with the prestigious bowl game. (Image: USA Today)

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s said to be a “multi-year relationship.” It’s the second Arizona-related deal for Caesars announced this month. The casino giant is launching sports wagering at Chase Field — home of Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks — on Sept. 9. That’s the day sports betting goes live in the state.

With the new legislation permitting legal sports betting in Arizona, this multi-year relationship will expand Caesars’s footprint across the state by bringing its state-of-the-art platform to college football fans,” according to a statement.

The Fiesta Bowl, which is one of the New Year’s Six games, is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2022 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. That venue is also home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Too

As part of the agreement, Caesars gets rights to provide similar services at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

That game doesn’t carry the cache of the Fiesta Bowl. But it’s been played in Arizona for more than three decades, and it’s conference tie-in pitting the Big 10 against the Big 12 could be alluring for bettors and lure fans to the game. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl is slated for Dec. 28 at Chase Field.

Caesars, which recently closed its $3.69 billion acquisition of William Hill, is looking to make a splash in the domestic sports betting space, and is following a playbook rivals are using, cobbling together media deals and sponsorships.

For example, the gaming operator recently won naming rights to the Superdome in New Orleans, where it runs a land-based casino. Earlier this month, Caesars became the official casino partner of the NFL’s Houston Texans, although casinos and sports betting aren’t yet permitted in Texas.

Different Than Penn Deal

In about a month, Arizona is becoming a hot bed of gaming companies partnering with college bowl games.

In late July, Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sports won naming and streaming rights for the Arizona Bowl. Played in Tuscon, that game features teams from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and the Mountain West Conference (MWC).

Caesars’ arrangement with the Fiesta and Guaranteed Rate Bowls is different because it focuses on sports wagering, not naming rights. Sony’s PlayStation brand remains the official corporate sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl.

However, Caesars will be “title partner of the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl pregame parties, and join in the annual Arizona Bank & Trust Fiesta Bowl Kickoff Luncheon as presenting partner,” according to the statement.

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