A coming together of three Chicago brands
The National Football League (NFL) franchise Chicago Bears has landed its maiden exclusive multi-year deal in the sportsbook and casino categories after inking an agreement with two fellow Illinois-based brands.
The NFL team took to Twitter on June 22 to “welcome to the Bears family” BetRivers and Rivers Casino Des Plaines as the new official sportsbook partner and casino partner, respectively:
The Bears link-up unlocks a host of media-rich branding opportunities for BetRivers and Rivers Casino, including in-stadium signage plus digital and traditional assets.
BetRivers also gets prime billing on the Bears official “brought to you by Verizon” app, where it will be the title partner of the franchise’s free-to-play game. According to the BetRivers blog, players can additionally look forward to promotions featuring Chicago Bears prizes and experiences.
Hometown relationship branding
The deal represents a neatly strategic corporate partnership of a major league professional sports brand with linked land-based and digital gambling entities.
Chicagoan through and through
One difference between this new partnership and the maiden sports betting agreement the Bears inked with global sportsbook operator PointsBet in September last year is that all three parties shaking hands on Tuesday are Chicagoan through and through.
Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips expressed his pride in building a “relationship with a hometown company.” He said the team was looking forward to connecting with fans “in fun and unique ways” through BetRivers and Rivers Casino.
The feel-good feeling is mutual in the BetRivers and Rivers Casino camp. Lifelong Bears fan and executive chairman and co-founder of RSI and Rush Street Gaming, Neil Bluhm, stated in a BetRivers June 22 blog that he was “thrilled” to have BetRivers and Rivers Casino team up with their hometown NFL franchise.
Bluhm added that the “partnership also reinforces our commitment to hometown teams in states where we have our online and land-based sportsbooks.”
Brands dressed for Bear?
The stars seem in alignment for the three Illinois brands to have a strong partnership together. For starters, NFL.com sports writers Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr ranked the Chicago Bears number one in the NFL for their astute 2021 draft picks. When the Bears picked up dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields in the draft, “the vibe in Chicago instantly flipped: Hope sprung!” Filice wrote.
Add to this the neat tag-team move that in June of last year saw Rivers Casino Des Plaines launch the BetRivers app, making it the first legal online sportsbook in Illinois.
With the Bears set to start their pre-season in August against another NFL team on the rise, the Miami Dolphins, Bluhm’s wish to expand the Rivers brands’ relationship with the franchise and “its dedicated fan base” seems a case of perfect timing.