Having successfully entered the sports gambling arena last year, the Broncos will announce a multi-year agreement Thursday with Esports Entertainment Group that includes hosting Madden NFL tournaments at Empower Field at Mile High.
Founded in 2008 and based in Malta, EEG calls itself a “next generation online gambling company focused on esports.” Last December, the Philadelphia Eagles became the first NFL team to partner with EEG and the team became a shareholder. The Broncos opted not to pursue stock as part of the deal.
“We actually reached out to them,” Broncos senior vice president of corporate partnerships Brady Kellogg said in a phone interview with The Denver Post. “We’re always trying to keep tabs on which partners out there have the potential to make us better and we think we found another one of those in (EEG).”
The Broncos continue to be active in creating revenue streams. Last summer, they became the first NFL team to sign deals with gambling companies (FanDuel, BetFred and BetMGM). They see partnering with EEG as a chance to grow their fan base locally and nationally among gamers.
“There are over 500,000 gamers in the (Denver) metro area,” Kellogg said. “Only 5.2% of our known Broncos gamers live in Denver. Said another way, for as big of an opportunity for in-person gamers in Denver, our (out-of-market) fans may use this as an opportunity to travel to Denver or compete digitally and all told, you’re pushing to nearly 2,000,000 Broncos fans who are gamers across the nation.”
Highlights of the partnership include:
- Kellogg said the Broncos “have indicated an openness to entertain other titles over time, but Madden NFL will be the initial focus.”
- The Broncos will host three championship-level tournaments per year at Mile High and are also interested in organizing frequent online competitions. Kellogg said the Broncos and EEG are “hopeful” to host the first Mile High tournament this summer before training camp.
- Kellogg said Broncos players will be asked to get involved; on Thursday morning, the team will release a video featuring receiver Courtland Sutton discussing the partnership. “They will help us promote this,” Kellogg said. “Gaming is a passion point and area of interest for many of our players and you’ll see that from Day 1.”
- Prizes for tournament winners will include Broncos autographed memorabilia, the opportunity to have dinner with a player and, for a championship event, season tickets.
From EEG’s perspective, the benefit of partnering with the Broncos is Denver’s demographics and enthusiasm for esports. In October 2017, the city hosted DreamHack, a national gaming tournament tour, at the National Western Complex.
“Esports are really on the rise everywhere, but what makes us unique is we do have a younger, growing population,” Kellogg said. “We look to develop and strengthen relationships with our fans in fun and culturally-relevant ways.”
In negotiating with EEG, Kellogg was asked if any part of online gaming surprised him.
“There were several ah-ha moments along the way,” he said. “Big picture, I would say esports is here to stay and its growth trend seems to be continuing.”
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