Bet365 and the Charlotte Hornets have formed the first sports betting partnership in the state of North Carolina.
The two brands on Friday agreed on a sports betting partnership, making the British sportsbook the first to initiate the application process for an online operator license.
“Everyone at bet365 is thrilled to partner with the Hornets, as we launch our iconic sports betting brand in North Carolina. The Hornets’ rich and dynamic history is deep rooted in the Queen City community, and we’re abuzz to become part of their exciting future,” said a bet365 spokesperson.
“We are excited to announce this partnership with bet365,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment Chief Revenue Officer Jacob Gallagher. “Since the day Governor Cooper signed sports wagering into law at Spectrum Center in June, we sought a partner that would help us provide our fans with new, additional opportunities to engage with their favorite sports teams. We are confident that bet365 is a great fit with our organization and can help us do that.”
Bet365 must now wait until the NC Lottery Commission begins accepting applications from online operators. The earliest this could begin is Jan. 8, 2024, but likely won’t occur until a few months later.
The latest North Carolina online sports betting can launch is June 14, 2024.
Bet365 lands fifth partnership with American sports teams
Friday marks Bet365’s fifth partnership with an American sports team, all of which differ in some ways from that which the brand now forms with the Charlotte Hornets. The other four teams partnering in some capacity with Bet365 are:
– The Washington Commanders (NFL).
– The Cleveland Guardians (MLB).
– The Colorado Rockies (MLB).
– The San Antonio Spurs (NBA).
Of the four deals, only the deal with the Cleveland Guardians allowed access to a sports betting market (Ohio’s). However, the retail sportsbook on-site at Progressive Field is run by Fanatics Sportsbook.
The Spurs have a sponsorship deal with Bet365 while sports betting is still outlawed in Texas. The Rockies and Commanders also have sponsorship deals, and the retail sportsbook at FedEx Field, home of the Commanders, is a Fanatics Sportsbook.
Partnership grants market access and option for a retail sportsbook
Bet365’s partnership gives them access to apply for a North Carolina online sports betting operator license. It further gives the brand exclusive rights to build a retail sportsbook in or within a 1.5-mile radius of the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
If Bet365 capitalizes on the retail sports betting opportunity in Charlotte, it would mark the brand’s first retail sportsbook in the country.
The Spectrum Center will undergo a $215 million renovation project and could include a retail sportsbook, which Eric Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal says is “all but guaranteed.”
This could have made the decision easier for Bet365. A taxpayer-funded sportsbook saves the brand eight figures in an up-front investment. It also clearly indicates the team’s interest in a sustained future at the Spectrum Center.
At the moment, it is unclear whether the Hornets and Bet365 have completed the state-mandated written designation agreement, which solidifies the partnership in the eyes of the NCLC.
Hornets rank highly in NCSharp’s sports betting partnership power rankings
NCSharp ranked the Charlotte Hornets the third most financially viable sports betting partner in the state.
We based the ranking on the team’s location in the heart of the state’s largest urban area. We also considered the brand strength of the NBA and the team’s new ownership group which appears “all in” on pulling the team out of the NBA cellar.
Bet365’s presence at Hornets games begins tonight
Brentan DebySingh, public relations outreach manager for Bet365 in the US, stated that “Tonight’s Hornets v. Bucks game will have Bet365 signage on baseline aprons and stanchions.”
Image Credit: Chuck Burton / AP Images