WNBA and PointsBet enter into sports betting partnership
Sabrina Ionescu # 20 of New York Liberty shoots the ball during the game against the Minnesota Lynx on May 18, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Steven Freeman | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Sports betting company PointsBet has entered into a partnership with the Women’s National Basketball Association. This is the first agreement with a women’s sports league for the company.
The licensing agreement, announced Friday, allows PointsBet to use WNBA team logos and player images on its platforms to increase brand awareness. The company wants to position itself for sports betting with female sports consumers, and the WNBA says viewership is on the rise.
Financial terms for the one-year deal were not provided.
In a statement, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the agreement with PointsBet would deliver a digital experience on a second screen. The deal offers WNBA consumers a new way to watch games infused with PointsBet betting odds.
“Innovating at the WNBA and improving the fan experience starts with recognizing how our fans want to interact with players, teams and the league,” Engelbert said.
The WNBA celebrates its 25th anniversary this season and says he’s seeing an increase in viewership. Turner Sports reported a 27% increase (81,000 viewers) for the May 14 NBATV broadcast, a season debut starring New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu. That’s compared to the Washington-Connecticut game last July, which averaged 64,000 viewers.
In October, ESPN said that all three games WNBA Finals starring the Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces averaged 440,000 viewers, Game 3 averaged 570,000 viewers. The network said the last game saw a 34% increase in viewership from the 2019 WNBA Finals Game 3 contest.
PointsBet believes in the growth potential of betting activities around women’s sport. He measures the success of the 2021 women’s college basketball tournament as proof that women’s sport can attract punters. In April, ESPN said the title game between Arizona and Stanford was on average about 4 million viewers and peaked at 5.9 million. The network said it was the most watched women’s contest since 2014.
“We’re excited to align with the WNBA and bring the world-class PointsBet experience to one of the most digitally engaged fan bases in the world,” said PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken. “The WNBA has done a phenomenal job with growing fan engagement, and PointsBet is thrilled to be a piece of this puzzle moving forward.”
Based in Australia with a US headquarters in Denver, PointsBet is also aligning itself for the future of in-game betting. In March, it acquired Banach Technology – called the Robinhood of sports games of chance. In-game betting allows consumers to make micro-bets during games.