Partnerships between legal sportsbooks and professional sports franchises have been proliferating across the landscape, and Pittsburgh has its first.
Rivers Casino and its online entity, BetRivers.com, on Wednesday announced a multi-year agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins to become the NHL team’s “official” casino and sportsbook.
The new relationship will include a sportsbook-style lounge in PPG Paints Arena, with two rows of luxury seating, dedicated to fans who want to be betting via the BetRivers app while watching the live hockey action.
“This is an exciting extension of our longstanding relationship with Rivers,” Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse said in a statement. “The BetRivers Lounge is one of a number of projects we are undertaking at PPG Paints Arena to provide an enhanced and safe fan experience in a post-COVID environment.”
The agreement includes an exclusive marketing partnership that fans will notice through Rivers Casino and BetRivers branding and advertising inside the arena.
Unknown when fans will see the new lounge
The Penguins, of course, would normally be gearing up right now for a new NHL regular season in an arena routinely filled to capacity. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic altered the 2019-20 season schedule, and they were knocked out of post-season competition unexpectedly early in August by the Montreal Canadiens.
There has been no announcement of when their 2020-21 season will begin, and uncertainty over whether fans will be allowed into arenas once it begins.
Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino and the BetRivers online/mobile site are both part of Rush Street Gaming, which also owns the Rivers Philadelphia casino and PlaySugarHouse.com site in Pennsylvania.
Both casinos have large sportsbooks to take advantage of the large fan followings of teams in the state’s two big cities.
In Pittsburgh, the new lounge — to be created by removing several rows of seats at the top of section 120 in the arena’s lower bowl — will be designed by DMAC Architecture of Chicago, the same firm that created Rivers Pittsburgh’s $5 million sportsbook. The lounge will have a bar, club chairs, and multiple live-action screens.
Bill Keena, general manager of Rivers Casino, noted the casino and Penguins have had a longstanding relationship in various formats since the casino’s 2009 opening, including support for the Lemieux Foundation headed by Pens owner and former star Mario Lemieux.
“The new BetRivers Lounge at PPG Paints Arena takes this longstanding relationship to a whole new level — literally,” Keena was quoted in a press release.
Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, called Pittsburgh a “hockey town” devoted to the Penguins, who recently won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.
“As two organizations that share a commitment to excellence in providing sports fans with unparalleled experiences, BetRivers.com is proud to be the exclusive sportsbook of this winning franchise and the pride of Pittsburgh,” Stetz said.