Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon has signed a deal to be an ambassador for MaximBet Sportsbook, making him the first active Major League Baseball player to enter into a partnership with a sportsbook.
The recent collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association allows players to enter into deals with sportsbooks within certain conditions. Under terms of the CBA, Blackmon cannot promote betting on baseball. He must promote MaximBet and its products in general.
Earlier this year, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers signed a deal with BetMGM, making him the first active athlete from a major professional team sport to have a deal with a sportsbook.
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The Evolution Of Baseball’s Relationship With Sports Betting
As with other athletes’ deals with sportsbooks, Blackmon’s activities for MaximBet will see him lend his likeness to marketing campaigns. He will also participate in promotions and events for the online sportsbook. That will not include signage or marketing in Coors Field, however, as DraftKings is the official sportsbook and betting partner of the Rockies under a deal it inked in 2020. Colorado’s online sports betting market went live on May 1, 2020.
Though the new CBA that governs Major League Baseball allows players to sign deals with sportsbooks, they (as well as managers, coaches, umpires, and many other officials associated with the game) are prohibited from betting on the sport. Baseball has had a long history of keeping a distance from gambling.
In 1919, sports bettors schemed with members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series, a scandal that precipitated a change in the game, most notably the advent of a commissioner and stringent rules on players and ties to gambling.
The landscape has changed in recent years, following a landmark decision in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court that removed a federal ban on state authorization of sports betting. Currently, 30 states have legalized sports betting in the wake of that decision.
MaximBet is owned by Maxim, a popular magazine and pop culture, media lifestyle brand based out of their offices in New York. MaximBet is currently operating only in Colorado but may expand to other legal sports betting markets in the future.
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One Of The Greatest Rockies Ever
Blackmon is one of the best players to ever wear the Colorado purple and black, and the outfielder is also one of the most popular to play for the Rockies. With his trademark long beard and hair, and prominent eye black, Blackmon is beloved by Rockies fans, going by the nickname “Chuck Nazty.”
The left-handed hitter has a career .300 batting average, is a four-time All-Star, and in 2017 he won the National League batting crown. In 2017 he set an MLB record with 103 RBI as a leadoff batter. Blackmon ranks second all-time in games played for the Rockies, behind legend Todd Helton. He’s second in hits and third in runs scored for the franchise.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski