LSU and Caesars Sportsbook announced their partnership late last week, just as sports betting is getting going in Louisiana, with licensed gaming options expected to be available as early as Oct. 1.
The partnership will benefit LSU, the first SEC school to partner with a gambling company, in a number of ways, but the biggest will be financially.
Expenses for college athletic programs are going up around the country, says Cody Worsham, strategic communications director for LSU athletics. LSU’s athletic department is always looking for creative revenue streams as it is not funded by taxpayers or student fees and is self-sustaining, he says.
Much of the revenue brought in by the partnership will go to student athlete scholarships, Worsham says, which is one of the department’s biggest expenses. Caesars plans to create a scholarship fund, and LSU plans to take a portion of the revenue and invest it back in its student athletes.
Fans will also benefit from the partnership, he says, likening it to LSU’s partnership with Rouses. The stores are places where fans might shop for tailgate supplies, and he hopes Caesars will do something along the same lines for sports betting.
People like sports betting, he says, and once it is available, LSU wants to make sure there’s a tool for people to use, without having a gap where fans are waiting for something to engage with.
What that tool will be, however, is still being discussed.
Allowing betting in the stadium is one of a number of ideas that are being brainstormed, Worsham says. Caesars is sponsoring the stadium’s Skyline Club, and some sort of betting presence in the stadium is one of many options being considered.
However, keeping in mind the audience in Tiger Stadium, it would need a lot of vetting and thought.
“We’re going to rely on Caesars expertise on what experiences fans want from a gaming perspective,” he says, “and Caesars will need knowledge of LSU. College athletics is a new space for them.”
The goal is always to be on the forefront, Worsham says. LSU was ahead of the curve in preparing for NIL laws and would like to do the same with sports betting.