NHL Appoints Former AGA Employee As Sports Betting Consultant

  • Sara Slane previously worked as the AGA's vice president of public affairs
  • NHL is embracing sports betting to increase fan engagement, viewer numbers, and attendance figures
  • The league has partnered with MGM Resorts International, FanDuel, and William Hill US
  • Currently, nine NHL teams can capitalize on their presence in states where sports betting is legal
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The NHL has appointed a former AGA executive to act as a consultant on the league’s sports betting plans.

Details of this appointment

The National Hockey League (NHL) is appointing Sara Slane, a former executive at the American Gaming Association (AGA), as its consultant. She will be helping the league to make the most of the burgeoning legal sports betting sector.

Slane left her position at the AGA at the beginning of July and created a global gaming strategy company shortly after. In her new role, she will guide the NHL and its teams to build new partnerships in sports betting and gaming. She will also advise them on legislation and help devise an effective strategy to target the sector. 

The Chief Business Officer of the NHL, Keith Wachtel, said the appointment shows their “commitment to working collaboratively with the sports betting industry and developing a best-in-class approach to partnerships.”

Slane had worked at the AGA since 2014. At the time of her departure, she was acting as the vice president for public affairs. She was a key spokesperson for the organization. 

There have been rumors of potentially opening up sports betting in Canada, where the NHL has seven teams.

Slane will be focusing on sports betting opportunities in the US as well as keeping an eye further north. There have been rumors of potentially opening up sports betting in Canada, where the NHL has seven teams. The country has a limited form of sports betting in place, and the NHL will be watching this market closely. 

NHL and sports betting

Before the Supreme Court brought an end to the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018, the NHL worked alongside other major sports leagues to prevent this from happening. As their efforts proved fruitless, most of the leagues decided to see how they could capitalize on this nascent sector. 

The NHL has been very active in this regard. It holds strategic partnerships with MGM Resorts International, William Hill US, and FanDuel – all big players in the growing sports betting industry. The deals will be in place for up to three years.

Potential opportunities

The NHL also hopes to increase fan engagement, viewer numbers, and attendance figures by embracing the sports betting space. 

There are currently nine NHL teams in states that have legal sports betting. These clubs have the opportunity to capitalize on the likes of partnerships and sponsorship deals. Among them, the New Jersey Devils was the first major league sports team in the United States to obtain a sports betting sponsor. They have an agreement in place with William Hill US.

Another potentially lucrative area for the league is the selling of exclusive league and player data. It has been looking into player and puck tracking technology in some of the games during last season. This data could be licensed to the likes of television broadcasters and sportsbooks for their live betting offerings. 

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