The Cleveland Guardians and bet365 announced a multi-year partnership last week, wherein the sports betting operator will be the Major League Baseball team’s exclusive mobile wagering partner.
“Everyone at bet365 is thrilled to partner with the Guards, as we launch the world’s favorite online sports betting brand in Ohio,” a bet365 spokesperson said in a press release. “The Guardians’ rich history is deep-rooted in the Cleveland community, and we’re excited to become part of their exciting future.”
Bet365 is among the mobile sportsbooks that went live in Ohio on Jan. 1, when legal sports wagering launched in the state.
Ohio customers can take advantage of the partnership on Saturday at Guards Fest, which will be held at the Huntington Convention Center. A bet365 lounge will be available for customers aged 21 years and older, and the lounge will feature exclusive bet boosts and prize giveaways throughout the day.
The Bengals’ divisional round playoff game against the Buffalo Bills will take place Sunday, but there will be two NFL playoff matchups on Saturday for bettors visiting the lounge.
No immediate retail plans
While the two entities are partnered on the digital side, the Guardians don’t have immediate plans to build an in-stadium sportsbook, the team told Cleveland.com.
The Guardians unveiled plans last week for ballpark enhancements at Progressive Field, but a retail sportsbook wasn’t among them. Changes include a beer garden in the upper deck and a dugout club with an exclusive lounge behind home plate.
Brian Barren, the Guardians’ president of business operations, told Cleveland.com that restrictions around having a sportsbook inside an MLB stadium make the prospect less enticing in the immediate future. The Washington Nationals, for example, have a BetMGM sportsbook just outside their stadium. Fans can’t see the field from inside the sportsbook, so it’s arguably a more appealing destination on non-game days or before or after games than during a Nats tilt.
"Whenever we can, we try to ground (the renovations) in fan insight versus whatever some leader's 'pet rock' might be in terms of, 'I want to do X, Y, Z,'" Guardians president of business operations Brian Barren said.https://t.co/46LbCEm6PE
— Joe Scalzo (@JoeScalzo01) January 12, 2023
The Guardians didn’t discount the possibility of a retail sportsbook a few years down the road, however.
“We’ve got a lot of work in front of us on the stuff inside the ballpark,” Barren told Cleveland.com. “As we look beyond the ballpark, and certainly the development parcel is a component, we’ll look to do something there that makes the most sense from a fan perspective as well as from a business perspective.”
Photo: Ken Blaze/USA TODAY