On Tuesday, Colorado University paved a new road for college athletics. The Buffaloes of Colorado became the first school to partner with a sports betting company. The deal is a five-year partnership with PointsBet.
“We’re thrilled to have PointsBet as a partner, and for the benefits, this sponsorship will provide for our student-athletes for years to come,” CU Athletic Director Rick George said. “We are impressed with their commitment to raising awareness around responsible gaming. And we’re particularly excited whenever we can partner with sponsors who call Colorado home.”
The five-year partnership will help the Colorado Athletics out during the coronavirus pandemic when sports at universities are very uncertain with seasons. Earlier this summer, the Pac-12 canceled the college football season this fall.
A sports betting partnership with a university is a revolutionary thing for the sports world. Over the last year, pro sports teams and sports betting operators have been partnering up left and right as leagues become laxer with betting rules around their sport.
Back in June, the Denver Broncos became the first NFL team to partner with a sports betting operator. Now, Colorado Athletics is partnering with PointsBet on a five-year deal. The partnership goes beyond what we would see with a pro sports team.
PointsBet will be helping out the Scripps Leadership and Career Development Program, which helps student-athletes prepare for careers when they are done playing at the collegiate level. PointsBet hopes to help create a pipeline for CU graduates to work for the sports betting operator as they build a headquarters in downtown Denver.
PointsBet is viewed as a responsible gaming platform and pushes that vision into their business. They also want to help people understand the importance of responsible gaming and sports betting.
The deal will also include sponsorships and signage at the stadium and TV broadcasts. PointsBet signs will be on display at Folsom Field, and the CU Event Center – Colorado fans will also see and hear PointsBet sponsorships on the local Colorado telecast and radio broadcast during sporting events.
PointsBet also signed partnerships with the Dever Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Mammoth this year.
What Does this Mean for College Athletics?
With the Buffaloes and PointsBet creating the first of its kind partnership in college athletics, look for more universities to try and capitalize on the exploding industry.
One thing that makes the partnership work is how PointsBet will be contributing to different programs within its athletic department. It is one thing to partner with the University and throw signage everywhere, but to also get involved with student programs in a way will be beneficial for both parties.
This was able to be done in Colorado thanks to the sports betting laws in the Centennial State. Colorado is already seeing a major spike in sports betting along with the entrance of sports betting operators.
If other states see this kind of expansion, then it is only a matter of time before more universities find sports betting partners. Colorado is a power five school, but still not as notably recognized from a sports perspective like Alabama’s, Notre Dame’s, Duke’s, and Kentucky’s of the world.
What will be interesting is to see how sports betting operators try to partner with universities. Some of the best athletic programs in the country are in states that do not have sports betting bills even put into action yet.
Notre Dame could be a big target for sportsbooks like DraftKings or FanDuel. However, a school like Alabama may not have a partnership until much later, as Alabama is a more conservative state with no sports betting in sight.
With the Colorado partnership, this puts a new twist on the sports betting industry and the money that can go into it.