PointsBet’s Redblacks partnership is newest part of ‘authentically Canadian brand’ in Ontario

Courtesy: PointsBet Canada/Redblacks

As sports betting expands in Ontario, PointsBet Sportsbook wants Canadians to feel right at home using their product once iGaming launches in the country’s most populous province on April 4.

In addition to tailoring many of its offerings to the Canadian sports landscape, the operator is also already forging official partnerships with key sports stakeholders in the country. The latest was a deal with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which owns the Canadian Football League’s Ontario-based Ottawa Redblacks.

Already one of the biggest names in the U.S. sports betting space, PointsBet is clearly focused on building what Chief Commercial Officer Nic Sulsky refers to as an ‘authentically Canadian brand’ as it prepares to enter the Ontario market. And joining up with a pro CFL team definitely plays a role in that.

CFL deal with Ottawa presents several layers of opportunity

The PointsBet-Redblacks partnership, just announced on March 24th, officially ties sportsbook to another distinctly Canadian entity, one that just happens to play the vastly popular betting sport of pro football. And with the clock counting down toward CFL season, this may be the right time to look at the betting potential it has in Ontario.

“Football betting is really fun,” Sulsky pointed out. “Football betting is what the primary North American betting activity is. And what’s exciting about the CFL is it’s a summer football betting opportunity.”

PointsBet is the first of the regulated Ontario sportsbooks to make a deal with a CFL team. Given the success of similar partnerships between many of the operators that will enter Ontario and NFL teams, they probably won’t be the last.

And while the ability to “introduce a top-tier product to the CFL fan base within the Ottawa region and around Ontario” is certainly part of the story for PointsBet, there is also its desire to build a brand that is true to the people it serves.

“Partnering with the Redblacks made so much sense for us because Ottawa is our nation’s capital,” Sulsky said. “We’re trying to build an authentically Canadian brand, so obviously there’s a correlation there.”

But PointsBet is taking an even broader view of the opportunity, one that goes beyond strictly sports betting.

“We’re not just a gambling company, we’re a sports gaming brand. So we’re looking for ways to entertain, educate, and engage the Redblacks and R Nation fans whether they want to gamble or not,” Sulsky explained. “I think it’s going to create entertainment and engagement touchpoints for fans.”

PointsBet is leaving no room for doubt regarding its commitment to richly integrating its brand and product with other Canadian sports and entertainment entities. Prior to the Redblacks partnership, PointsBet had already signed similar agreements with:

  • Curling Canada, the official sanctioning body of curling in Canada
  • Netflix’s Trailer Park Boys, a popular TV/streaming series
  • NHL Alumni Association

PointsBet wants to customize the CFL betting experience

While the branding is certainly important, there’s no question the success of PointsBet and any other entrant into the Canadian sports betting market will ultimately be determined by the quality of what it offers to an expansive pool of sports betting enthusiasts in the region.

“Product is eventually going to win,” Sulsky noted. “We’re spending a lot of time and energy on building our brand. But we know that product is what’s going to separate us and give us longevity over the next decade.”

When it comes to its offerings for the Ontario market, PointsBet is prioritizing creating a platform that is in many ways distinctly different from its U.S. counterpart.

“The opportunity to customize our product for the Canadian sports fan is something that we are taking extraordinarily seriously,” Sulsky explained. “There’s going to be boosters and parlays and same-game parlays, and those classic PointsBet features. But the cool thing about PointsBet is that we have a distinct Canadian business. We’re going to have a distinct Canadian product.”

We can’t be exactly quite sure what the betting experience will look like in Ontario just yet, but we can be sure that at least one sportsbook is aiming to build a brand that speaks with the country’s voice and will reflect it with an abundance of betting markets focused on Canadian leagues and sports.