Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the New York Liberty shoots the ball during the game against the Minnesota Lynx on May 18, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Steven Freeman | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Sports betting firm PointsBet agreed to a partnership with the Women’s National Basketball Association. It’s the first deal with a women’s sports league for the company.
The licensing agreement, announced Friday, allows PointsBet to use WNBA team logos and players’ images across its platforms to grow its brand awareness. The company wants to position itself for sports betting among women’s sports consumers, and the WNBA says viewership is up.
Financial terms of the one-year agreement were not provided.
In a statement, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the deal with PointsBet will provide a digital second-screen experience. The deal gives WNBA consumers a new way to watch games infused with PointsBet betting odds.
“Innovating at the WNBA and enhancing the fan experience starts with recognizing how our fans want to interact with the players, teams, and the league,” Engelbert said.
The WNBA is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season and says it’s seeing a bump in viewership. Turner Sports reported a 27% increase (81,000 viewers) for the May 14 NBATV telecast, a season opener featuring New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu. That’s compared with the Washington-Connecticut game last July, which averaged 64,000 viewers.
In October, ESPN said the three-game WNBA Finals series featuring the Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces averaged 440,000 viewers, with Game 3 averaging 570,000 viewers. The network said the final game had a 34% increase in viewers over the 2019 WNBA Finals Game 3 contest.
PointsBet believes in the growth potential in betting activity around women’s sports. It measures the success of the 2021 women’s college basketball tournament as proof women’s sports can lure bettors. In April, ESPN said the title game between Arizona and Stanford averaged roughly 4 million viewers and peaked at 5.9 million. The network said it was the most-watched women’s contest since 2014.
“We are thrilled to align with the WNBA and bring the world-class PointsBet experience to one of the most digitally-engaged fan bases on earth,” said PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken. “The WNBA has done a phenomenal job with growing fan engagement, and PointsBet is excited to be a piece of that puzzle moving forward.”
Based in Australia with a U.S. headquarters in Denver, PointsBet is also aligning for the future of in-game bets. In March, it acquired Banach Technology — referred to as the Robinhood of sports gambling. In-play wagering allows consumers to make micro-bets during games.