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BetMGM to sponsor NJ Metlife Stadium rail line Image: MetLife Stadium

Online sports betting giant BetMGM has signed an agreement with NJ Transit to get its message out to riders and sports fans, becoming the only corporate sponsor of a rail line in the United States.

‘nj.com’ stated that NJ Transit’s rail line to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (US) and the Meadowlands sports complex now carries the name of the Jersey City-based sports betting company under a three-year, $3 million deal announced in the Secaucus Junction rail station on September 14th.

New Jersey (US)-based BetMGM is a market leading sports betting and gaming entertainment company, pioneering the online gaming industry.

The New Jersey Transit Corporation, branded as NJ Transit, and often shortened to NJT, is a State-owned public transportation system that serves the US State of New Jersey, along with portions of New York State and Pennsylvania.

The 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium is a multipurpose stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, 5 mi West of New York City (US). Opened in 2010 to replace the Giants Stadium, it serves as the home for the New York Giants and New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL).

The Meadowlands Sports Complex is a sports complex located in East Rutherford, in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. The facility is owned and operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

‘nj.com’ further stated that signs were already up in the station with the new name BetMGM Meadowlands Rail Line, in addition to ads and massive banners for the company, including some ads on track level proclaiming the company as the official sports betting app of NJ Transit.

The agreement pays $1 million annually for three years in what NJ Transit calls non-farebox revenue, which will help keep fares stable, informed Kevin Corbett, NJ Transit head honcho. NJ Transit has had stable fares for five years – “It is the first agreement of its kind. Maximizing non-farebox revenue is an import element to helping NJ Transit keep fares stable for our customers.”

While other transit agencies have used naming rights agreements for stations and other facilities to add revenue streams, such as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA’s) Wawa station, this is the only current one for an entire rail line.

Denver’s Regional Transit District airport line had been named for the University of Colorado under a similar type of sponsorship in 2014. That expired at the end of May and the name reverted back to the ‘A Line’.

The agreement with BetMGM also includes print and digital ads in stations throughout NJ Transit’s system, in conjunction with the transit agency’s advertising partner, Intersection. In addition to giant banners in the Secaucus Junction, BetMGM’s presence ranges from signs and ads in stations and in trains to maps identifying the BetMGM Meadowlands Rail Line.

Corbett named checked the potential audience the naming and ads could reach, namely concertgoers and sports fans attending NFL games at the MetLife Stadium and, in 2026, for FIFA World Cup™ soccer matches.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup™, the quadrennial international men’s soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. The tournament will be jointly hosted by 16 Cities in three North American countries: Canada, Mexico and the United States.

NJ Transit trains transported 16,000 fans during the 2021 Army-Navy game at the MetLife Stadium, and that game will return in five years, Corbett said.

Roughly 100,000 passengers rode the line in a year, he added.

Regular commuter ridership is also increasing, Corbett said, as more financial and banking companies require employees to spend time in the office following the Labor Day holiday weekend.

BetMGM started in New Jersey in early 2019 with 40 employees and now employees’ count has almost touched 1,000, said Matt Prevost, BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer – “New Jersey is our home. We’re based in Jersey City and many of our employees start the day with NJ Transit, so we appreciate this opportunity to be part of this great innovative effort.”

Competition among betting apps is fierce. A walk through Hoboken Terminal shows BetMGM isn’t the only sports betting app using ads to try and catch the eye of riders.

Informed Prevost, “We look for ways to engage with customers in a slightly different manner. We need tactics to cut through a very crowded space.”

Naming a rail line and the accompanying advertising campaign is one of those ways, he said – “As people go to a world class venue like MetLife, it’s a great opportunity to remind them of BetMGM.”

Does this mean on board WiFi is coming to trains and buses to help riders place their bets and use NJ Transits smartphone app?

Added Corbett, “It’s something for bus and rail we’ve looked at it.”

But installing hundreds of millions of dollars in other commuter technology and data has taken a priority, he said, the most important being the equipment installed on trains for Positive Train Control, the Federally-mandated safety system all railroads had to have installed and running by the end of 2018.

He further informed, “The byproduct now is WiFi, rather than WiFi as a standalone system. It’s something we’re working on.”

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