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David Purdum, ESPN Staff Writer 14d

Michigan State names Caesars the Spartans' official sportsbook

Men's College Basketball, College Football, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State and Caesars Entertainment announced a multiyear sports betting partnership Thursday that includes a new premium seating space at Spartan Stadium.

Caesars Sportsbook becomes the official and exclusive sports betting and iGaming partner of Michigan State and will receive significant exposure at venues. The new Caesars seating space inside Spartan Stadium, as well as an outside tailgating area, are expected to debut during the 2022 football season. Spartan fans also should expect to see Caesars content infused into the broadcast and digital platforms throughout Michigan State athletics.

Financial terms of the deal, which was brokered by media rights company Playfly Sports, were not disclosed. Similar partnerships between sports betting companies and Division I FBS universities have been estimated at $1 million.

"The opportunity to partner with Caesars, a leading force in the sports and entertainment industry, will help enhance game-day experiences for Spartan fans and provide significant resources to support the growing needs of each of our varsity programs," Alan Haller, Michigan State vice president and director of athletics, said in a news release announcing the partnership. "We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this innovative opportunity, while recognizing the importance of Caesars' commitment to responsible sports gaming education both for the student-athletes and the university community as a whole."

As part of the deal, Caesars will provide annual funds to student-athlete responsible-gaming education programs, scholarships and opportunities for internships and professional development for students pursuing careers in the sports industry, according to the release.

"The Spartan fan base and alumni network is passionate and well-established across the country," Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Digital, said in the release. "We look forward to building upon our connection with them while strengthening the legacy we hold in the state of Michigan and advancing scholarship opportunities through this partnership."

It is the latest in an increasing number of partnerships between NCAA schools and bookmaking companies. Caesars also has a partnership with LSU, and sportsbook PointsBet is partnered with Maryland and Colorado.

"The rapidly expanding interest around gaming in the college space has pushed us to create strategic opportunities for our college properties that not only provide impactful game education resources but also significant opportunities to drive new sources of revenue," said Christy Hedgpeth, president of Playfly Sports Properties.

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