NHL Seattle, the organisation bringing a new ice hockey franchise to the Washington city, has agreed a partnership with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s Muckleshoot Casino, while NFL American football team the Philadelphia Eagles has joined forces with global online gambling operator Unibet.
NHL Seattle is due to commence play in 2021, with a $930m (£718.4m/€832.8m) project currently underway to transform Seattle’s old KeyArena into the team’s new home. As a partner and sponsor, Muckleshoot Casino will have entitlement to the Power Play as well as a significant brand presence at both the New Arena at Seattle Center and the Northgate Ice Centre practice arena.
NHL Seattle will also partner with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to introduce ice hockey, a sport with roots in Native culture, to Native American youth in the Puget Sound region. A federally recognised Indian Tribe whose membership is composed of descendants of the Duwamish and Upper Puyallup people who inhabited Central Puget Sound for thousands of years before non-Indian settlement, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe was this week invited to bless the land on which the new arena is taking shape.
“We are grateful to the Muckleshoot Tribe for their blessing of these arena grounds, which we acknowledge are on Indigenous land and the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people,” said Mari Horita, vice-president of community engagement and philanthropy for NHL Seattle.
“The Arena project is about honouring the past and embracing the future, and our partnership with the Tribe and the Muckleshoot Casino does exactly that. We are excited to partner to bring the game of hockey to more Native American youth in our region.”
Muckleshoot Casino has grown from a temporary structure into the largest gaming facility in the Pacific Northwest. A sweeping renovation and expansion is currently underway which will culminate with the debut of a 18-story, 400-room resort in 2021.
The State of Washington has some of the strictest anti-gaming laws in the US and sports betting remains illegal as more states across the country continue to roll back years of resistance to such activity by legalising it.
Conrad Granito, general manager of the Muckleshoot Casino, told the Seattle Times newspaper that while the Seattle NHL tie-up will help raise awareness about its ongoing resort property expansion, it could yet lead to a future sports-betting arrangement.
“I think the partnership is one where you see a lot of tribes and gaming entities have partnerships either directly with teams or directly with leagues,” Granito said. “So, I think that tie-in just becomes a natural as we move forward with this. So clearly, with the NHL, our relationship just helps solidify that, and our position within the sports-betting network that we project is going to be here in Washington.”
It was reported last month that the new arena is on course to open in the summer of 2021 as construction work continues on the site. The construction project is being led by Oak View Group (OVG).
In other news, the Eagles have agreed a multi-year partnership with Unibet, which is part of the Kindred Group. The sponsorship agreement serves as the first casino partnership for the team.
As part of the deal, Unibet will receive a permanent branding presence on Lincoln Financial Field’s newly constructed Northwest Suites located on the main concourse. Unibet signage will also be prominently displayed on the Eagles Nest Tower, the stadium’s digital billboard. The deal does not include any promotional rights for sports betting.
Unibet has partnered with Mohegan Sun Pocono to provide online gambling in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Online gambling through Unibet’s website and apps will be available online in Pennsylvania in the coming weeks, having been live in New Jersey since June.
“As we look to grow our footprint in the US, it only made sense to partner with one of the largest, most respected and loved teams in the NFL,” said Arnas Janickas, head of US marketing at Unibet. “The Eagles unmatched fan engagement and relentless innovation in digital space definitely helped to make this partnership a reality.”
Image: Muckleshoot Casino