Sports Betting Sponsorship in Canada: How Commonplace is It?

Sports Betting Sponsorship in Canada How Commonplace is It

In the 1990s, Canadian hockey teams started incorporating sponsorships from gambling companies and casinos to alleviate costs while promoting the involved companies. Most of these early sponsorships were in the form of jersey logos before progressing to deals like event advertising and even arena naming rights, involving more teams as the years passed.

Nowadays, gambling and sportsbook sponsorships are almost the norm for Canadian teams in most sports, mainly thanks to the legalization of online sports betting in August 2021. Driven by these regulatory changes, which provided revenue opportunities and marketing considerations, sportsbook sponsorships now offer significant benefits for the leagues, the teams, and betting operators alike.

Since single-game sports betting became legal in Canada in 2021, 13 regions have adopted in-person sports betting. Punters can now officially bet on their favorite teams online in 10 provinces.

Legal Sportsbetting in Canada

As these regions encompass most of the country, the best betting sites in Canada have made the most of the legislation and regulations to pair themselves with a variety of different sports leagues and teams in sponsorship deals designed to reach a large audience of passionate sports fans while also giving back to the communities wherein they are situated.

Ontario Sportsbook and Sports Collaborations

As Ontario represents the largest Canadian sports betting market, it seems fitting to use the province as an example of how sportsbook sponsorships with sports teams and enterprises are generally gaining traction in Canada.

Although Ontario holds prominence among iGaming centers in the North American sector, the room for sports sponsorship growth and prospects remains vast. As of July 2023, according to the FY 2023-24 Q1 Market Performance Report released by iGaming Ontario, 46 separate licensed sports betting entities were running 71 online sportsbooks and gaming websites in the province.

Despite these numbers, market growth is still anticipated, with several applicants waiting in the Ontario regulator’s processing queue.

With all of the professional Ontario-based sports teams quick to form varying sponsorship partnerships with players in the iGaming industry after April 2022’s early regulation announcement, the success of these deals heightened the prospects of other league and team involvement in similar, if less lucrative, collaborations in Ontario.

In Canada’s largest market, many such collaborations have since materialized, but there remains scope for future dealings. Furthermore, stepping outside of Ontario itself, many leagues operating nationally in Canada continue to adopt partnerships with online sports betting and casino enterprises.

Sports Leagues with Sports Betting Sponsorships in Canada

Since legislation provided the opportunity, many sports leagues throughout Canada have formed partnerships with the top sports betting and casino operators, providing substantial exposure to the iGaming industry operating within the country’s borders.

Sports Leagues with Sports Betting Sponsorships in Canada

Sports leagues affiliated with the industry include the NFL (National and Ontario), the NBA (National and Ontario), the NHL (National and Ontario), the MLB (Ontario), the CFL (National), the CPL (National), and the NLL (National).

By adopting such sponsorships, these major leagues have encouraged a growing number of sports teams and associations to forge deals with several iGaming operators within the industry.

Five professional teams from several sports sectors benefit from sponsorships provided by sports betting providers and platforms.

In Ottawa, the official team sponsors of Atlético Ottawa in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) and Ottawa Redblacks in the Canadian Football League (CFL) are sportsbook and casino providers.

Alberta’s Edmonton Elks of the CFL has entered a sponsorship deal with a provider that has become its official online casino and sports gaming partner, and the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays also has an exclusive gaming partner with an online sports betting provider.

Manitoba is not excluded, with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers team officially sponsored by a major company within the iGaming industry.

A growing number of national Canadian sports associations have also entered sponsorship partnerships with sports betting industry players. Some of these include Alpine Canada (skiing), Curling Canada, Golf Canada, TSN (sports media), and MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment), owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto FC, and the Toronto Marlies.

The range of associations displayed indicates how the gaming industry, specifically sports betting providers, dominates sponsorships within Canadian sports circles. As the benefits of this exposure become more apparent, many other leagues, teams, and associations will likely follow suit.

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