Three of the biggest trends in the business of running an NFL team—utilizing stadium space, growing digital businesses and leveraging a newly sanctioned sponsorship category—are coming together in a new partnership agreement between the Philadelphia Eagles and digital sportsbook Fox Bet.
In the coming weeks, the Eagles will unveil a Fox Bet-branded studio and lounge inside Lincoln Financial Field as part of a multi-year deal. The team will produce content for its digital channels from the space, with the gambling operator serving as title sponsor for a new show, Eagles Edge, that will also feature Fox Bet talent.
Up to 380 fans will get access to the area on gamedays once in-person attendance returns.
Earlier this year, the NFL allowed teams to open betting lounges and accept sportsbook sponsorships (which are categorized separately from casinos and daily fantasy operators). The Broncos signed the first such deal with FanDuel in June and have added a BetMGM-branded lounge. The Eagles, meanwhile, have found a new, physical location where Fox Bet, the joint venture between Fox Sports and bookmaking company Flutter, will attempt to woo Pennsylvania and New Jersey-based clients with interactive screens and exclusive betting offers for lounge patrons.
Nearly a year ago Fox Bet became the Philadelphia 76ers’ official sports betting partner. Philadelphia clubs sit at the nexus of the two largest sports betting states in terms of handle (outside of Nevada) since 2018—Pennsylvania and New Jersey—according to data from legalsportsreport.com.
Eagles senior vice president for revenue and strategy Catherine Carlson said the team had been looking for potential spaces in its 17-year-old home where it could offer new experiences, and within the last year identified a 4,000-square foot spot that will offer fans views of players in the tunnel as well as post-game press conferences. Construction was temporarily paused due to COVID-19 but was recently completed.
Financial details were not disclosed, but Carlson said the deal is “definitely a substantial partnership for the Eagles.” The deal was finalized last week.
As Philadelphia developed the interactive studio concept, Fox Bet emerged as a sensible partner given that organization’s focus on content. “The content creation differentiates this relationship,” Fox Bet CMO Andrew Schneider said. “This partnership is non-traditional and a first-of-its-kind in sports betting.”
Because of its Fox Sports ties, Fox Bet has attempted to leverage programming like Fox Bet Live (previously Lock It In) on FS1 and talent, including Terry Bradshaw and Colin Cowherd, to drive customer acquisition and engagement.
Eagles Edge, Schneider said, “helps to support our position in the market as the fan-first, fan-friendly approachable way to sports betting.” Fox Bet also operates Super 6, a free-to-play game that Schneider hopes exposes sports consumers to betting concepts in an approachable way. “Being accessible is important to us given the relative newness of sports betting,” he said. “A lot of betting terminology that appeals to hardcore bettors is not well understood by the mass sports viewing audience. We feel uniquely positioned, with the sets of assets we have, to deliver the right brand message and get people to make their very first bet with us because we’re creating such a friendly, approachable experience.”
One analog for the deal would be the ESPN studio recently opened at Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas LINQ property, but in this case, it’s the Eagles who will play the role of both host and content creator as teams continue to grow their digital media operations.
“The world is going digital, and we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to present content,” Carlson said, adding that the brand reaches more than 9 million viewers across its social channels. “Our fans wake up, and they want their Eagles content… so it’s incredibly enticing for brands to get involved with us creating content.”