The NFL is ringing in the new year with two groundbreaking partnerships. On Thursday, the organization announced its first casino sponsor, Caesars Entertainment, and on Friday, it named Intuit TurboTax Live as the debut presenting sponsor of both the AFC and the NFC Championship games.
The Caesars partnership will debut with the 2019 playoff season, and will give the company exclusive rights to use NFL branding to promote its properties, as well the opportunity to activate at NFL events throughout the year. Renie Anderson, senior vice president, NFL partnerships, sponsorship and consumer products, said the partnership “will provide our fans unique experiences both here in the United States and abroad.”
According to a release, this partnership is “for the Casino category only and does not include sports betting, daily fantasy or hotels/resorts.”
Though those exclusions may exist, the Caesars partnership nonetheless seems to signal a shift in attitude from the NFL when it comes to embracing sports betting. Thanks to a May 2018 Supreme Court ruling, sports gambling is now legal in eight states, with others allowing it with some restrictions or making their way towards legalization, according to ESPN. Though the league has long been a public opponent of sports gambling, the growing trend of legalization is something that even an organization as powerful as the NFL cannot stop.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling came down, commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league was preparing for the change in tide. “We have spent considerable time planning for the potential of broadly legalized sports gambling and are prepared to address these changes in a thoughtful and comprehensive way, including substantial education and compliance trainings for our clubs, players, employees and partners,” he said in a statement in May of last year.
Though it may not carry quite the same industry-shifting weight as the Caesar’s announcement, the naming of Intuit TurboTax Live as the presenting sponsors of the AFC and NFC Championship games is significant as well. Intuit TurboTax Live will be at the center of those two games, which have averaged 48 million television viewers annually over the past five years, making them two of the biggest television events of the year.
Along with that news, the NFL also named the brand as its official sponsor for financial and accounting software, and announced that it would be running its sixth consecutive Super Bowl ad this year.
“Americans work hard for their money and at Intuit we want to help them find and save more of it,” said Mary-Ann Somers, chief growth officer for Intuit’s Consumer Group, said in a release announcing the news. “As an official sponsor of the NFL, we have a unique opportunity to reach a highly engaged audience with solutions to help them prosper during the height of tax season.”