University of Colorado Announces First NCAA Gaming Sponsorship; Could & Should DU Be Next?

For years, the NCAA and its hundreds of member institutions have distanced themselves from tobacco and gambling sponsorships. On the other hand, alcohol sales and various other sponsorships have made inroads over recent years at campus venues with the increased availability of alcoholic beverages and gameday advertising.

Now, in a precedent-setting deal, the University of Colorado is the first NCAA institution to partner with a sports betting company – PointsBet – which could be a sign of things to come across the country. Could, and really should DU take the same or a similar path?


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CU just announced a 5-year sponsorship deal with Denver-based sportsbook PointsBet. According to 9News, “The five-year corporate sponsorship with PointsBet was negotiated by Learfield IMG College, the media rights holder for Buffaloes athletics. PointsBet will have signage at Colorado’s football stadium and basketball arena and ads on radio broadcasts and other media.”

“We’re thrilled to have PointsBet as a partner and for the benefits this sponsorship will provide for our student-athletes for years to come,” CU Athletic Director Rick George said. “We are impressed with their commitment to raising awareness around responsible gaming. And we’re particularly excited whenever we can partner with sponsors who call Colorado home.”

And the money isn’t bad either.

With new “name, image and likeness” student-athlete rules, it may mean university athletes might appear in an advertisement for CU’s official sports gambling partner. All this while the NCAA has spent years distanced itself from gambling and advising student-athletes to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

In a year where colleges are looking under couch cushions for spare change, doors are opening up new revenue channels from sponsors who were once considered taboo. DU Athletics, hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, could seriously benefit from online gaming sponsorships as well as advertising from brick and mortar Casinos in Blackhawk, Colorado, should they decide to go that route with their advertising strategy.

Under Proposition DD which passed in 2019 and became effective at the beginning of May this year, Colorado voters legalized sports betting with a 10% tax on net proceeds, which will primarily be funneled to Colorado’s water plan. The state expects to collect $29 million annually from the new tax.

One thought on “University of Colorado Announces First NCAA Gaming Sponsorship; Could & Should DU Be Next?”

  1. Remember that point-shaving once nearly killed college basketball in the 1950s. While sports betting is way more socially acceptable now, many college students today are financially vulnerable, and could be susceptible to pitches from gamblers. For that reason, I am not a fan of college sports endorsing gambling companies.

    Leave it for the pros.

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