Fiesta Bowl Becomes First College Football Game With Sports Betting Deal

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Fiesta Bowl has partnered with Caesars Entertainment, becoming the first college football game to engage in a deal with a US sports betting operator. The first-of-its-kind deal, announced Monday through a news release provided by Caesars, extends to sports betting as well as fantasy gaming in Arizona, which is set to launch sports betting on Sept. 9 – the kickoff day of the 2021 National Football League.

Caesars continues to expand its footprint in the Copper State with the second market access deal in the state. It comes less than four months after the Nevada-based casino company announced a sports betting partnership with the Arizona Diamondbacks – a professional baseball team based in Phoenix.

The previous deal with Arizona Diamondbacks allows Caesars to extend statewide mobile sports betting and build a sportsbook and bar adjacent to Chase Field – the team’s home.

Details of Caesars-Fiesta Bowl Deal

The multi-faceted deal focuses on fan engagement, the Fiesta Bowl’s year-round events, and ever-increasing sports gaming and education in the Copper State.

Under the partnership, the casino giant will host fan lounges in-stadium for both the Guaranteed Rate Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. The former is held at Chase Field, and the latter at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on New Year’s Day.

The multi-year deal also makes Caesars the title partner of the Fiesta Bowl’s pregame parties. In addition, the new legislation in Arizona concerning gambling expansion also allows the casino company to bring its “state-of-the-art platform to college football fans, the news release said. Caesars also plans to promote responsible gaming education, besides drawing fans to the craze that college football delivers.

Caesars will also join in the annual Arizona Bank & Trust Fiesta Bowl Kickoff Luncheon as a presenting partner.

The newly rebranded Caesars Sportsbook will also take digital bets from fans at the Fiesta Bowl game.

A First-of-Its-Kind Partnership

Fiesta Bowl Chief Marketing Officer Jose Moreno said it is a new frontier in the college football space, adding that the sports league championship is again out in a font with the fan-focused engagement.

He said in a release there was a particular interest in the marketplace to partner with the Fiesta Bowl – a college football game played annually in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Moreno hailed Caesars, which stood out due to the identical community mindset and creativity toward setting a new standard.

“We’re joining with an industry leader who is dedicated to working with us to lift our offerings for college football and all sports fans across the Copper State,” he said.

Dan Shapiro, Chief Development Officer of Caesars Digital, shared a similar excitement about joining with the Fiesta Bowl Organization for reaching a landmark deal to bring college football fans closer to the game.

Though it’s the first deal between a sportsbook and a bowl game, Barstool Sports will also sponsor an Arizona bowl game in 2021.

Meanwhile, BetMGM will also have a retail sportsbook at State Farm Stadium as part of a deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

Fiesta Bowl Ahead of Its Time?

Unlike professional sports leagues, college sports have not yet embraced sports betting legalization wholeheartedly, mainly due to opposition from the NCAA.

NCAA regulations outlaw college athletes and athletics department staff from intentionally participating in sports betting activities.

But the deal between Caesars and the Fiesta Bowl suggests a softening of the rigid stance. However, it should be mentioned here that bowl games are commercial entities and separate from the NCAA.

Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl has carried a formidable reputation compared to the other New Year’s Day college football offerings of the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Sugar Bowl. All these are part of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

Caesars also has links to the Sugar Bowl through sponsorship rights to the Superdome in July, as Louisiana also plans to begin accepting bets by the end of this year.

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