First Active MLB Player To Endorse A Sportsbook Must Be A Home Run

First Active MLB Player To Endorse A Sportsbook Must Be A Home Run

Major League Baseball players negotiated for the right to become legal sportsbook endorsers in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended a 99-day lockout.

Someone has to be the first. And for the sake of the player and his legacy, the sportsbook partnerships and the money spent, and baseball and its reputation, a lead-off homer is crucial.

It’s a nuanced choice – performance and reputation matter.

The right player should have multiple years of superlative play on their resume, negating young budding megastars like Vlad Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis, Jr., Juan Sota, and Ronald Acuna Jr.’s widely known matters, too. So does popularity.

Granted, the player will likely be disliked in some ballparks if he’s that good. But he can’t be widely reviled or controversial, discounting past and former Astros like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman and the Dodgers Trevor Bauer.

And, said Kevin Mercuri, founder of Propheta Communications, “an edge” is required.

“They need to project an image of confidence with a hint of a ‘risk-taker’ baked into their personae,” he told PlayUSA.

“Sports betting in the United States has been widely marketed as a game of chance designed for intelligent risk-takers. Finding the right player with this characteristic will be a bit of a challenge, but it won’t be impossible. Marketing teams certainly have their work cut out for them in this regard.”

After consulting with branding and gambling industry stakeholders, PlayUSA found the starting 10. (Hey, everybody has the DH now).

Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts are well-equipped to become MLB’s first sportsbook pitchmen

1. Bryce Harper: As the 2021 National Most Valuable Player, the Phillies right fielder quite obviously has a lot of credibility as a very good baseball player. He’s brash. He’s 29, right in that target demo.

A substantial amount of fans don’t love his antics and brash personality, but he’s a must-watch phenomenon, and that’s a great quality for a pitchman. But Harper has one trait that could self-exclude him from ever taking on this role. He’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He abstains from alcohol and drinks very little caffeine. And Mormon theology is opposed to gambling. That said, it’s considered a lesser transgression than imbibing or taking drugs. The Las Vegas native hasn’t yet been asked whether he’d be interested in such a role.

There’s a risk he’d consider it another clown question. But it just feels like he’s a Barstool brand ambassador waiting to happen.

Bryce Harper sports betting

2. Mookie Betts: This one works on too many levels. He was the MVP of the American League in 2018 with Boston and has an even better platform and multi-faceted game-changing ability now.

The 29-year-old is one of the best players in baseball. He plays with a passion for a great team in a massive market. And his name already sounds like a sports wagering company. Picture the billboards: “Mookie Betts with ______.” (But not on baseball!)

Mookie Betts sports betting

3. Mike Trout: The three-time American League MVP is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and exudes excellence and trustworthiness despite consecutive injury-plagued seasons.

A nine-time all-star center fielder, the 30-year-old signed a record 12-year, $430-million contract with the Angels in 2021.

He hasn’t exploited the sponsorship market like many of his well-compensated peers. Trout could make up for that as a pioneer of a new revenue stream.

Mike Rout sports betting

4. Xander Bogaerts: One of the best shortstops in the game. An offensive and defensive stalwart.

And at 29 in the prime of his prime, Bogaerts, to his detriment in multiple ways, was almost a complete no-show in a recent poll of the most popular contemporary baseball players as conducted by YouGovAmerica.

That hurts his stock. But he has the gravitas to pull this off.

Xander Bogaerts sports betting

5. Anthony Rizzo: A solid big-league contributor for 12 seasons, the Yankee first baseman became nationally recognized as a gregarious figure on the 2016 Cubs World Series-winning team.

He claimed the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award vets his good-guy bona fides. At 32, he probably has some years left on the diamond, for now in a very high-profile situation, and can speak not only to a national audience but directly to the booming New York sports betting market.

He’s a safe, inoffensive choice. His YouGov ratings were very high among Millenials.

Anthony Rizzo sports betting

6. Jacob de Grom: The Mets ace is a two-time NL Cy Young Award-winner and has the personality to connect.

Playing in one of the most pressurized media markets in the world should prepare him for the role; 36% percent of responders to the YouGov poll knew him.

Jacob deGrom sports betting

7. Jose Ramirez: One of the top third basemen in the game, the 29-year-old Guardian was the second-most known MLB player in the YouGov poll (51%) and second in popularity (29%) among all adults.

Jose Ramirez sports betting

8. Clayton Kershaw: The Dodgers left-hander, 34, has a wide spectrum of emotional range, with goofy, humorous, and raging all in his repertoire.

If he suggests a sportsbook, he would really freakin’ mean it. Atop his three Cy Youngs is a value-added 2012 Clemente Award.

Clayton Kershaw sports betting

9. Evan Longoria: Another no-waves choice here, and the numbers support him. Not necessarily the baseball numbers, though.

The 36-year-old has been a solid major league contributor since winning AL Rookie of the Year with the Rays in 2008, but he’s no megastar.

Still, according to the YouGovAmerica survey, he’s the third-most-popular contemporary baseball player with a 50% “fame” score and was liked by 28% surveyed.

Among men, who represent the vast majority of the national sports betting population, he stood at 62% and 37%, respectively. Gen X loves him, too. He tops there at 56% and 33%. Longo odds!

Evan Longoria sports betting

10. Tim Anderson: The 2019 American League batting champ is a consistent high-level performer at age 28 – a little underexposed nationally, though – and has no problem speaking his mind.

He deemed it “bull—-” in 2021, upon being ranked the 10th-best shortstop by MLB Network. Let this guy suggest your new sportsbook.Tim Anderson sports betting

PlayerElite performerCareer sweet spotWell-knownLikedDislikedNon-controversialEdge Factor

1. Bryce Harper✔✔✔✔✔✔

2. Mookie Betts✔✔✔✔✔✔

3. Mike Trout✔✔✔✔

4. Xander Bogaerts✔✔✔✔✔

5. Anthony Rizzo✔✔✔

6. Jacob deGrom✔✔✔✔✔

7. Jose Ramirez✔✔✔✔✔✔

8. Clayton Kershaw✔✔✔✔✔

9. Evan Longoria✔✔✔

10. Tim Anderson✔✔✔✔

Read more: PlayUSA Sports Betting Brand Ambassador Power Poll

Author: Tyler Gutierrez