Colorado sports betting is coming to Empower Field at Mile High.
This past week, the NFL Sports Betting Committee approved a rule change that will allow NFL teams to offer sportsbook sponsorships. That means sponsored lounges for mobile sports betting apps at stadiums may be on the horizon.
This rule change could mean Broncos fans could stop by an adults-only NFL betting experience at Empower Field at Mile High later this year.
What a CO sportsbook lounge at Mile High means
In an interview with ESPN, NFL Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Chris Halpin gave an idea of what the sportsbook lounges would like.
“Similar to daily fantasy lounges today, in an adult, discreet area, there will be a betting setup, but we’re not going to have betting windows.”
In other words, the lounges will serve as a gathering for sports bettors, at the very least.
While it’s conjecture, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that adults in the lounge may get special mobile prop bets or free play. However, the Broncos (or any other team, for that matter) have not made any announcements about sports betting lounges.
The appearance of a sports betting lounge at Empower is just one of many changes Broncos fans will see this season.
Stadium branding could be drastically different in 2020
While a sports betting lounge is the most interesting fan-facing facet of the new rules, there are other equally interesting ramifications.
According to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Daily, there are several other rules the NFL enacted related to sportsbook partnerships:
- Teams can sell in-stadium signage to sportsbooks (except in the lower bowl)
- Sportsbooks can advertise on team websites
- Teams can designate a sportsbook as their “official sportsbook partner”
Along with these changes, the committee announced it would prohibit certain things, too.
For example, CO sportsbooks cannot feature active players or coaches in their advertising.
The rule seems to open the door for retired players and former coaches to appear in partner sportsbook ads. Retired players seem primed for the role of spokesperson, though.
Advertising with former players hits the sweet spot. Loyal fans get to see their favorite past players and, in theory, make a connection between team history and sports betting. At the same time, sportsbooks can target more relevant advertising to a team’s betting fan base.
NFL says new rules will take a “test and see” approach
One of the more revealing facets of this change to the NFL’s policy is what Halpin revealed in his interview.
“We’re going to test and see what the learnings are from the teams.”
He went on to emphasize that the NFL views the changes within the parameters of its framework for sports betting and that the league wants to advance these partnerships without alienating fans.
“There are four key objectives for the NFL when it comes to legal sports betting: integrity, brand, fan engagement, and commercial opportunity,” Halpin said.
“The right balance is allowing clubs to create meaningful partnerships, while not taking unneeded brand risks or alienating some fans.”