Cache Creek Casino Resort and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation inked a partnership with the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo Courtesy Cache Creek Casino Resort )
The Dallas Cowboys and the Chickasaw Nation-owned WinStar World Casino and Resort announced their partnership, the first of its kind for a National Football League (NFL) franchise and casino, in September 2018. The Cowboys were the first NFL team to flex the league’s recently relaxed stance on NFL team associations with gaming operators.
Under the terms of the new rules, NFL clubs can accept advertising money from casinos, and they can cross-promote their brands. The parties can use one another’s brand logos in advertising, and stadiums are able to accept casinos as naming rights partners. But advertising sports betting operations remains prohibited.
Since the Cowboys and WinStar blazed the trail forward, many more Tribally owned casinos and NFL teams have followed suit, inking mutually beneficial partnerships.
Among the most notable two-way agreements of 2019 include:
Green Bay Packers + Oneida Casino
Oneida Casino was named the official casino of the Green Bay Packers in August 2019, enhancing their 20-year collaboration and partnership since 2002 that includes the Oneida Nation Gate on the east side of Lambeau Field.
“As two strong Northeastern Wisconsin organizations, the Packers and Oneida Nation have a long history of working together,” said Craig Benzel, Packers vice president of sales and business development.
Las Vegas Raiders + San Manuel Casino
In October, the NFL Raiders franchise partnered with San Manuel Casino on its Allegiant Stadium currently under construction in Las Vegas. San Manuel Casino is now a founding partner of the stadium and a sponsor of the team for the 2020 football season. The Highland, California-based casino is a roughly 60-minute drive from Las Vegas, where Allegiant Stadium is currently rising from the ground on I-15.
San Francisco 49ers + Cache Creek Casino Resort
Cache Creek Casino Resort and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation have teamed up with the San Francisco 49ers. The Tribal casino inked a multi-year deal that includes presenting sponsorship of the 49ers pre- and post-game radio show on KNBR 680AM and throughout the 49ers Radio Network.
“The San Francisco 49ers are an elite, legacy-minded organization, with a storied record of success at the highest levels,” said Kari Stout-Smith, Cache Creek General Manager and COO. “Our brands have been aligned in similar ways for many decades.”
Arizona Cardinals + Gila River Hotels & Casinos
Advertisements for Gila River Hotels & Casino now appear beside those of major corporate brands at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. The NFL team has named Gila River Hotels & Casinos — including Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva — as its official hotel and casino partner.
“It definitely helps put us on the map,” Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, told Native Business. “When I look at our partnership, I look at it from a couple of different perspectives — one, from the business perspective, and two, from the community perspective.
Beyond brand recognition, the partnership benefits Gila River youth. For instance, the Arizona Cardinals host four youth football clinics each year for children in the Community.
Buffalo Bills + Seneca Resorts & Casinos
Seneca Resorts & Casinos is now the official casino of the Buffalo Bills. The exclusive partnership extends to the newly-branded Seneca Studios at One Bills Drive, the home of One Bills Live and The Instigators, simulcast weekdays on WGR 550 and MSG.
“Seneca Resorts & Casinos always strives to elevate our guest experience and this partnership brings even more opportunities for play both on and off the field. This is a collaboration of great teams coming together!” said Melissa Free, Sr. Vice President of Marketing/CMO, Seneca Gaming Corporation.
Carolina Panthers + Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos
In November, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos and the NFL Carolina Panthers entered a five-year agreement, making Harrah’s the team’s official sponsor.
The Tribal casino gets the naming rights to Champions Village, the Panther’s pregame hospitality venue, now dubbed Harrah’s Cherokee Champions Village. The casino will also sponsor the 5th Quarter post-game fan watch party.
Seattle Seahawks + Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
The Seattle Seahawks have inked a 10-year partnership with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. The former CenturyLink Field’s North Plaza is being renamed Muckleshoot Plaza, and cultural elements such as artwork showcasing the Tribe’s rich history will be on display at stadium events. On Seahawks gamedays, fans can enjoy annual Tribal dance performances. Tribal representatives hosted Seahawks executives, along with Legend Walter Jones and team mascot Blitz, in Auburn, Washington, on November 1 for a special celebration event at the Muckleshoot Tribal Offices.
Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers + Pechanga Resort Casino
In mid-December, Pechanga Resort Casino, owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, announced that it will be the official California casino partner of the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. Pechanga is the first Southern California-headquartered company to announce a sponsorship with SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Chargers and the Rams, and to be a part of SoFi Stadium,” said Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro. “This isn’t just a Los Angeles stadium, it’s a Southern California stadium, and Southern California has always been and will always be our home. We are especially proud to be able to help local students and people in need with the grants we announced today.”