Madison Square Garden Looks Poised to Enter Sports Betting World

Madison Square Garden Looks Poised to Enter Sports Betting World article feature image

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Madison Square Garden

  • The Action Network has learned that Madison Square Garden applied for a trademark in the sports betting space.
  • According to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, the filing suggests MSG has "real plans to launch an app and other services in the field of sports betting."

Madison Square Garden hasn’t formally announced any intention to get into sports betting, but the owners of Madison Square Garden did file to trademark “MSG” in the space, The Action Network has learned.

Last month, in a filing that recently appeared on the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the company filed to trademark “MSG” for “downloadable mobile applications for sports wagering, for organizing, arranging, conducting, and participating in sports wagering tournaments, for providing information related to sports betting…”

The company also filed with an intent to use MSG for “interactive peer-to-peer gambling competitions and tournaments.”

When reached, a spokesman provided a statement on behalf of MSG:

“We have said we’re very interested in the opportunities legalized sports gaming could bring, and recognize that we have a brand, in MSG, that is recognizable around the world for its connection to iconic sports."

While some might make the case MSG executives are just taking a precautionary measure, trademark lawyer Josh Gerben says the filing suggests otherwise.

Gerben points out that the paperwork contains a signed sworn statement that the company has a “bona fide intent” to use the trademark for the stated goods and services.

“This means the company likely has real plans to launch an app and other services in the field of sports betting,” said Gerben, the principal of Gerben Law, a trademark law firm based in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Knicks owner and MSG's CEO James Dolan

Madison Square Garden owns “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” The Forum, where the Lakers used to play, and two yet-to-be-completed MSG Spheres in Las Vegas and London.

While sports gambling is legal in Las Vegas and London, New York has not yet legalized it.

MSG also owns the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty and a majority share of esports team, Counter Logic Gaming.

The news comes a day before NBC Sports Washington will stream an alternate broadcast of its game on its app that will simulate an in-game betting platform during a games.

Smart: NBC Sports Washington getting a jump on what an in-game betting product will look like, broadcasting eight games, beginning Jan. 11, on its app where fans can “Predict The Game.” Winners for each game will win $500.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 7, 2019

Roughly 40 questions will appear on the app and consumers will be asked to predict what’s next by answering the questions on a second screen.

Ted Leonsis, who owns one-third of NBC Sports Washington, is one of the most forward-thinking executives on sports gambling.

Last month, the D.C. Council followed eight states in agreeing to allow sports gambling. The bill needs to be approved by the mayor and Congress. Leonsis has said he one day dreams to offer sports betting on his app in his venue.

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