High-profile signing for WynnBET
Mobile sports betting app WynnBET dunked on its National Basketball Association (NBA)-facing rivals by securing the services of basketball legend and entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal as brand ambassador and strategic advisor.
The New Jersey-based sports betting arm of luxury hospitality giant Wynn Resorts took to Twitter August 9 to welcome the 15-time NBA All-Star to its team.
The larger-than-life media personality will feature “prominently” in WynnBET’s promotional campaigns scheduled to air late summer on traditional and digital media. According to an official news release, WynnBET and O’Neal inked a long-term partnership that will see the four-time NBA champion attend “in-person fan-facing events.” O’Neal will also “interact as a guest” with WynnBET’s media partners such as Minute Media, Cumulus Media, and Blue Wire Podcasts.
launch a free-play game contained within the app called Shaqpot
The Hall of Famer will also create original content with the sportsbook, plus launch a free-play game contained within the app called Shaqpot.
As an additional facet of the “category exclusive partnership,” O’Neal — who is an analyst on TNT’s Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA — will furnish WynnBET with his expertise in the role of strategic consultant.
Mobile wagering enjoying a “major moment”
The former NBA star expressed his love for working with WynnBET, saying that he was “so excited to take WynnBET to new heights.” Shaq also added: “Mobile sports betting is having a major moment, and I believe that WynnBET will be a powerful force in the industry.”
O’Neal’s mantra, “Business of Fun,” seems set to power his association with WynnBET. He also mixes music under his stage name DJ Diesel. His relationship with Wynn Resorts goes back years, with Shaq turning to Twitter in 2019 to publicize a gig at Wynn Resorts’ XS Nightclub at its Encore property.
In Monday’s news release, Wynn Interactive CEO Craig Billings outlined the natural fit between Shaq and WynnBet, saying the big media personality “has been a great friend of Wynn Las Vegas for many years”. Billings added that his firm believed its “players will enjoy interacting with [O’Neal] through the WynnBET app.”
According to the news release, under NBA rules, O’Neal will be offloading his ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings.
Sportsbooks and celeb tie-ups trending
O’Neal’s deal with WynnBET reflects a growing trend among sportsbooks to fully leverage fan engagement by giving fans relevant, high-profile personalities to engage with. Shaq, meanwhile, already boarded the brand ambassador brandwagon back in January 2021, when he signed on as pitchman for PointsBet’s operations in Australia.
In December 2020, Shaq’s contemporary NBA rival and current TNT colleague Charles Barkley inked a multi-year brand ambassador deal with FanDuel, which the sportsbook shared via Twitter during the holiday season.
While a major league sport with an altogether different look and feel from basketball, BetMGM nevertheless snapped up the brand ambassadorial services of National Hockey League (NHL) legend Wayne Gretzky in June.
For now, WynnBET can give itself a high-five for landing the high-profile O’Neal, an icon Billings named as “one of the most well-known personalities in sports media.”