The Mets are breaking a major taboo in professional sports by signing a sponsorship deal with Harrah’s Entertainment, better known as Harrah’s Casinos. The deal makes Harrah’s a Signature Partner at Citi Field. They’ll have an exclusive Caesar’s branded club space and a heavy presence throughout the stadium.
This just goes to show how desperate times have become to attract marketing dollars that the Mets would engage in such a deal with a gambling company. Gambling and professional sports mixing has to be a major concern for Major League Baseball Commisioner Bud Selig.
It wasn’t that long ago that Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were banned from baseball for taking jobs at casinos doing personal appearances. That was 1983 when commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned them. They were later reinstated by commissioner Peter Ueberroth but the gambling taboo remained. Of course, who could forget the Chicago White Sox being paid by gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds?
From The Biz of Baseball:
Fans throughout the season will experience a variety of programming from offers to Harrah’s owned casinos in Atlantic City to themed nights that bring simulate the experience of being at Harrah’s and Caesars to the New York Metropolitan area. On opening night April 13 at Citi Field, the Caesars Club will welcome baseball fans by hosting a DJ, providing fans with a commemorative gift, along with providing opportunities to take photos with iconic Caesars personalities.
Harrah’s has also signed on as the exclusive Casino partner for prominent in-venue signage at Citi Field, including presence atop Citi Field’s left field roof, first and third base rotationals, and identification throughout the concourses.
Harrah’s promotional rights extend to the Mets’ minor league affiliates at Tradition Field (Port St. Lucie, Fla., home of Mets Spring Training and the St. Lucie Mets) and KeySpan Park (Coney Island, N.Y., home of the Brooklyn Cyclones).
It’s incredible to me that the Mets would become this desperate to attract revenue. Maybe building a 42,000 seat stadium wasn’t such a good idea. If they had more gate revenue they wouldn’t have to stoop to this level.