Caesars, LSU Announce Groundbreaking Sports Betting Deal
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Home of the LSU Tigers.
Caesars and LSU announced a groundbreaking partnership Friday, the most significant deal yet between a sports betting operator and a major university athletic program since the Supreme Court struck down the federal wagering ban more than three years ago.
Caesars will become the exclusive gaming and sportsbook partner of the LSU athletic department, the company and school announced in a statement Friday. The deal includes naming rights and signage for Tiger Stadium (football), the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (men’s and women’s basketball) and Alex Box Stadium (baseball).
The deal also includes broadcast and digital sponsorship rights for all of LSU’s 21 men’s and women’s sports programs. The casino operator will also have naming rights for the new Caesars Sportsbook Skyline Club at Tiger Stadium.
“LSU Athletics programs have always exemplified excellence, and at Caesars, we couldn’t be happier to partner with such an iconic brand in college athletics,” Chris Holdren, Co-President of Caesars Digital, said in a statement. “We have a proud legacy in Louisiana, and bringing LSU fans and alumni closer to the sports they love while also offering scholarship opportunities will help us build upon that.”
LSU’s deal with Caesars is the second between a Power Five conference school and a major sportsbook, following a similar partnership between the University of Colorado and PointsBet.
The deal is all the more remarkable just a few years after the NCAA spearheaded a lengthy court battle to prevent legal sports betting.
The deal reaffirms Caesars’ investment in Louisiana months after it secured naming rights to the Superdome in New Orleans.
The company is also spending millions upgrading its Harrah’s New Orleans — the state’s lone land-based casino — and rebranding it under the Caesars name. It’s also enhancing Isle of Capri Lake Charles — one of the state’s 15 riverboat casinos — as it rebrands as Horseshoe Lake Charles.
The company is expected to be among the first to offer retail and online sports betting in Louisiana. Caesars’ retail book — at its casino blocks from Bourbon Street — could open in the coming weeks, with online betting projected to begin sometime this fall.
Caesars announced in Friday’s release it will create a scholarship fund for Louisiana-resident LSU students. The company said it would partner with the Louisiana Association of Compulsive Gambling and would not market to students or fans under age 21. Caesars also said it would not highlight gaming inside campus facilities beyond the on-campus sports venues.
LSU boasts one of the nation’s most successful and prominent athletic programs, which is estimated to be one of the nation’s highest revenue generators.
The Tigers won the 2019 football national championship, their baseball team is a six-time national champion and their men’s basketball team has become a perennial NCAA tournament contender.
LSU is the first program with such a sports betting partnership in the SEC, the NCAA’s most successful football conference, and a likely harbinger of similar deals at other major athletic programs.
Sports betting is legal in other SEC school member states Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas and is set to begin in Florida next month. Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama all considered sports betting bills last year.
“LSU has always taken pride in providing fans with unique, innovative, and world-class experiences, and our new partnership with Caesars Entertainment will do just that,” LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward said in a statement announcing the Caesars partnership. “We share a clear vision of how athletics and entertainment can come together to enhance the fan experience, and we are excited to join with Caesars to make that vision a reality.”