The NHL Now Owns A Piece Of A Colorado Sportsbook

Written By Ian St. Clair on 02/10/2021 - Last Updated on March 21, 2024

PointsBet is all in.

The sportsbook is dead set on becoming a major player in Colorado sports betting and the U.S.

The latest move may be the biggest yet.

The sportsbook announced on Tuesday that it is now an official betting partner of the NHL.

The affiliation is a multi-year deal that will allow PointsBet to strengthen the partnerships it has with NBCSports and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE). Namely the Colorado Avalanche and Altitude TV and radio (the broadcast home for the Avalanche).

As part of the partnership with the NHL, PointsBet receives rights to use NHL marks and logos, as well as a variety of NHL sponsorship and promotional opportunities for its brand across various linear, digital, and social media assets.

What does this deal mean for Colorado sports bettors?

It’s been clear since even before PointsBet launched in Colorado that the state is a primary focus for the sportsbook.

  • There’s the deal with the Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. Included in the announcement of the KSE partnership was the news Denver would become the U.S. headquarters for the sports betting company, which started in Australia.
  • There’s also the controversial (to some) partnership with the University of Colorado.

When you see PointsBet refer to itself as Colorado’s “Hometown sportsbook,” that’s why.

So what does this partnership with the NHL mean for Colorado sports bettors?

As a spokesperson for PointsBet said to PlayColorado:

“This officially announces that those integrations are out and ready for the consumer. This is our first run at it. This is Altitude’s first run at it in terms of incorporating a sports betting product to complement the broadcast. I think what it does is it officially announces the door is open. And there is an opportunity to see more of it and incorporate it a bit better and more authentically as all sides grow together.

“It unlocks the full potential with Altitude. And it further opens the door for PointsBet and Kroenke to work together through Altitude TV and sports radio.”

Change of opinion on sports betting

The other fascinating aspect of this partnership is the complete 180-degree turn sports leagues have taken from just a few years ago.

The sports betting world knew change would come when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). That was the 1992 law that barred state-authorized sports gambling.

But it’s fascinating how leagues that were once vehemently opposed to sports betting because they thought it was taboo now lovingly embrace the industry.

Let’s look at NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in 2018:

“Our game doesn’t lend itself to gambling in the same way that football and basketball do.”

New world for sports betting

Now Bettman and the NHL not only has a sports betting deal with PointsBet, it has an equity stake in the sportsbook.

As the spokesperson for the sportsbook said:

“It’s a sign of the times. Something that makes sports betting as fun to follow, entertaining, and educational as it is, is that the sports bettors are phenomenal risk managers and they’re great at quantitative analytics. And sports betting is exactly that. It’s applying the analytics, the game play and the sport itself gives you, and trying to find an edge. With sports betting now being not taboo and being able to be incorporated in the broadcast, that’s exactly what it can do. It can complement the broadcast. Let’s say the broadcasters are talking about, over his last five games, Jamal Murray is averaging x and y, it brings those trends, data insights, and data analyzes to life.

“So it allows you to approach that from an angle that is appealing on a larger scale to consumers. Versus perhaps the consumer who strictly enjoys viewing baseball from a ‘Moneyball’-type lens. There are more people who are fans of analytics via sports betting than they would realize. So I think it opens up angles for these broadcasts and the personality and talent on air to either form an opinion or complement a take they already have by using the readily available data from sports betting that’s out there.”

Colorado sports betting is just getting started

In terms of the future of the Colorado sports betting market, this is just the start.

The various partnerships that PointsBet has will only make it easier for users to find and know the sportsbook.

According to the spokesperson:

“It further elevates brand awareness and visibility and brand trust. For the Colorado consumer, being affiliated with the sports teams that you know and love, it certainly can’t hurt to see PointsBet branding there and have that affiliation be top of mind. Across the board, regardless of what team or league you’re talking about, this still is brand new. So it definitely still is within the walk-before-you-run type stage. But that said, I think that we’re gaining solid traction as an industry in terms of coming more front and center.

“Incorporating sports betting in a way that’s creative and authentic to the game itself and not just a forced plug of odds or promotional read. You’re seeing the future of what people in the industry have liked to dub wagertainment. You’re just seeing an additional means of keeping viewers engaged and people interested in the action.”

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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