Recently, the Canadian sportsbook industry has witnessed a tremendous rise in celebrity endorsements. From well-known athletes to commentators, these high-profile individuals have been lending their names, faces and voices to sportsbooks to promote their brands and attract more customers.
The use of celebrities has been encouraged by the intensifying industry competition. Sportsbooks need to distinguish and set themselves apart from the competition as more and more sportsbooks enter the market.
In this article, we will explore the rise of celebrity endorsements in the Canadian sportsbook industry and highlight some of the biggest stars that have partnered with the best Canadian sportsbooks.
The Benefits of Celebrity Endorsements in the Sportsbook Industry
Using celebrity endorsements in the sports betting market has several advantages. Celebrities, first and foremost, increase brand awareness and recognition. Their fame and clout can draw in new clients who would not have known about the sportsbook. Celebrities can also contribute to the development of customer reputation and trust.
People are more likely to trust a brand if a well-known celebrity is endorsing it. This is particularly relevant in the sports betting sector, where fostering client loyalty and retention depends on credibility and trust.
The chance to reach a larger audience is another advantage of celebrity endorsements, and a sportsbook can access the celebrity’s fan base by working with them.
The Impact of Celebrity Endorsements on the Canadian Sportsbook Industry
The proliferation of celebrity sponsorships in the Canadian sports betting market has profoundly affected the sector as a whole.
For starters, it has made the market more cutthroat, with bookmakers vying for the attention and support of well-known people. However, as sportsbooks strive for methods to stand out and differentiate themselves from the competition, this has led to more imaginative and novel marketing strategies.
In addition, celebrity endorsements have helped to raise the profile of the sportsbook industry in Canada. By aligning themselves with well-known individuals, sportsbooks can position themselves as reputable and trustworthy brands, which can help attract more customers.
Finally, celebrity endorsements have also contributed to the growth of the sportsbook industry in Canada. By bringing more attention and awareness to sports betting, celebrities have helped normalize and destigmatize it, making it more accessible and mainstream.
In conclusion, the necessity to distinguish themselves in a crowded market has increased celebrity endorsements in the Canadian sportsbook business. As a result, sportsbooks may reach a larger audience, gain credibility and trust, and draw in new clients by collaborating with well-known people.
Celebrities are increasingly donating their names and face to sportsbooks to promote their companies and increase sales as the Canadian sportsbook sector expands.
Let’s look in more detail at some of the personalities who currently have commercial relationships with betting companies.
Sebastian Giovinco – Bet99
Former Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco was appointed the latest brand ambassador for online sports betting company, Bet99. As part of his role, Giovinco hosted an Instagram live event, made predictions for FIFA World Cup matches in Qatar, and gave away celebratory fan merchandise, including footballs.
Giovinco started his role by joining Bet99’s Soccer House watch party on November 27th at the Firkin on Bay Street in Toronto.
The event screened Canada’s second World Cup game against Croatia live.
Giovinco said he was thrilled to partner with Bet99 and believed it was the perfect opportunity to support Canada’s first FIFA World Cup run in over 36 years, especially as the country will also host the competition alongside the United States and Mexico in 2026.
Bet99 CEO Jared Beber expressed his excitement about having Giovinco join the team. He believed that Giovinco’s stature and record in the Canadian and international soccer community were unparalleled, and the insights and excitement that he brought to the team, the players, and the platform were game-changing.
As an experienced footballer who had played for Toronto FC and the Italian national team, Giovinco’s endorsement undoubtedly helped boost Bet99’s credibility and reputation among football fans in Canada and worldwide.
Bet99’s partnership with Giovinco was an essential component of its marketing strategy, drawing attention to the brand.
Dan O’Toole – Rush Street Interactive
BetRivers has recognized the extraordinary impact that Dan O’Toole, former TSN sports anchor, has had on the brand as a Brand Ambassador. This has expanded his role within the company following the recent launch of BetRivers sports betting and online casino services in Ontario.
Richard Schwartz, the CEO of Rush Street Interactive, expressed his admiration for O’Toole’s broadcasting career in Canada and his impact on the BetRivers brand. O’Toole has been tasked with creating content and producing podcasts to bring a new level of expertise and entertainment to the BetRivers betting family.
O’Toole has been hosting a weekly podcast, Boomsies!, where he discusses sports and life in general. The podcast has been gaining popularity, and O’Toole has interviewed a wide range of celebrities and sports personalities, including Tiger Woods, Olympian Alysia Rissling, and actor Don Lake.
The increased brand recognition derived from O’Toole’s podcasts and his work in a series of BetRivers Winter Olympics advertisements has encouraged the betting operator to acknowledge his impact on the brand.
O’Toole is thrilled to continue doing what he loves and engaging with sports fans through his role as a Brand Ambassador for BetRivers. He sees the launch of BetRivers in Ontario as an exciting moment in the evolution of sports betting in Canada and an excellent opportunity for him to provide commentary and share his passion for sports with his fellow Canadians and other markets throughout the US where BetRivers has sportsbooks.
Bob McCown – BetRivers
If you’re a sports fan in Canada, you’ll definitely know the name, Bob McCown. This industry legend has been a part of the game for decades and has made significant contributions along the way.
Perhaps his most notable achievement was hosting the beloved Canadian sports talk show Prime Time Sports from 1989 to 2019. But just because he’s no longer on the airwaves doesn’t mean he’s out of the game. In fact, he’s still going strong with The Bob McCown podcast on his YouTube channel and Sirius XM.
Bob’s journey in broadcasting began in 1975 when he hosted a nightly sports talk show on CKFH, Foster Hewitt’s radio station. From there, he bounced around to different networks and shows until he found his footing at TSN, where he hosted The Business of Sports. But it was his return to CJCL, formerly known as CKFH, in 1988 to host Prime Time Sports that really solidified his place in the industry.
Bob’s career has had its share of ups and downs, including being fired from PTS in 1995, only to be rehired a month later. But even setbacks couldn’t keep him down. In fact, he went on to become one of Canada’s most well-known sports personalities, even winning a Sports Radio Award in 2007 for “Air Talent Of The Year.” He’s also a published author, co-writing the book “McCown’s Law: The 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments” with David Naylor.
But Bob isn’t just a broadcasting icon. He’s also shown his entrepreneurial spirit by purchasing Stoney Ridge Estate Winery in Niagara and acquiring complete control of Mike Weir Wines in Beamsville, Ontario. And let’s not forget his infamous 30-year bet with former Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey about an NFL team in Toronto. Bob says there won’t be one, while Godfrey insists there will be. Who will come out on top? Only time will tell
Rod Black – NorthStar Gaming
Rod Black is a household name in the Canadian sports broadcasting industry, and for a good reason. Starting his career at 19 as a sports announcer at the local CTV affiliate, CKY-TV, he quickly became the voice of the Winnipeg Jets’ NHL broadcasts. Black’s work with CTV Sports and TSN from 1990 to 2021 has made him a legend in the field
Black’s expertise extends far beyond the rink, as he anchored events such as CTV’s coverage of the 1991 Canada Cup, the 1992 Summer Olympics, and the 1994 Winter Olympics. In addition, he’s called events for the CFL, NBA, and PGA Tour and even guest-starred on the Canadian animated series D’Myna Leagues as Rod Blackbird, a documentary filmmaker.
Known as the voice of figure skating in Canada, Black’s in-depth knowledge and coverage of the sport have earned him a reputation as an expert in the field. He’s even been recognized for volunteering with Plan Canada, receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.
Black’s son Tyler was drafted in the first round of the 2021 Major League Baseball draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, adding to the family’s sports legacy. Recently, he’s been hired as a host and brand ambassador for NorthStar Bets, where he provides commentary for the company’s social media and in-app content.
Connor McDavid – BetMGM
The captain of the Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid, has swept the NHL. The Canadian professional ice hockey center was born in 1997 in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and started skating when he was four years old. It was immediately apparent that McDavid was naturally gifted in the sport.
McDavid’s talent led him to many victories, including four championships with the York Simcoe Express. He later joined the Toronto Marlboros of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, where he was named GTHL Player of the Year and the Tim Adams Memorial Trophy winner. McDavid was so exceptional that Hockey Canada granted him exceptional player status, allowing him to start playing junior ice hockey at 15 years old.
In 2012, the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League selected McDavid first overall, and he went on to dominate the league. His extraordinary talent marked McDavid’s OHL career, and he received numerous awards, including the Red Tilson Trophy, Wayne Gretzky 99 Award, and CHL Player of the Year awards. He also represented Canada at international competitions, winning gold medals at the 2013 IIHF World U18 and 2015 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
In the 2015–16 season, McDavid joined the Oilers and made his NHL debut. He was nominated to the NHL All-First Team despite missing three months of his rookie season due to a fractured collarbone and was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy. The Oilers named McDavid their captain the following season, making him, at the age of 19, the league’s youngest captain ever.
McDavid set records in the 2016–17 NHL season by scoring 100 points and winning the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer at the age of 22. He was also chosen for the NHL First All-Star Team and received the Ted Lindsay Award and the Hart Memorial Trophy. McDavid has been likened to players like Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky because of his extraordinary talent.
Wayne Gretzky – BetMGM
Ask anyone to name an ice hockey player, and almost undoubtedly, Wayne Gretzky’s name will be mentioned, as he is synonymous with greatness and the sport. Widely regarded as the best player ever to lace up a pair of skates, he spent 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and left an indelible mark on the sport.
No other player has come close to his achievements; he is the NHL’s all-time leader in goals, assists, and points. In addition, he’s the only player in NHL history to score over 200 points in a single season, and he accomplished that feat an incredible four times. If that wasn’t enough, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, including 14 consecutive seasons.
Gretzky’s journey to hockey immortality began in his hometown of Brantford, Ontario. Even as a young player, he showed an uncanny ability to read the game, dodge opponents’ checks, and make the right move at the right time. He set up behind the opposing team’s net so often that it became known as “Gretzky’s office.” His intelligence, stamina, and unmatched skill earned him a reputation as a hockey prodigy.
After playing briefly for the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association, Gretzky was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, where he established himself as a force to be reckoned with. Over the years, he shattered numerous scoring records and led his team to four Stanley Cup championships. When he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, he immediately impacted the team’s performance, and he’s credited with popularizing hockey in California. Gretzky finished his career with the New York Rangers, leaving behind a legacy that would be nearly impossible to match.
It’s therefore not a surprise that Gretzky is highly decorated and has racked up an impressive array of awards and accolades, including nine Hart Trophies, 10 Art Ross Trophies, two Conn Smythe Trophies, and five Lester B. Pearson Awards.
He had 16 assists, five times more goals than any other player in the league, and five Lady Byng Memorial Trophy victories for performance and sportsmanship. In addition, both hockey players and fans admired him for his adamant opposition to fighting on the ice.
Gretzky’s impact on hockey is immeasurable, and his legacy lives on long after his retirement. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame immediately after he retired, and the NHL retired his jersey number 99 league-wide. In addition, Gretzky became the executive director for the Canadian national men’s hockey team, helping lead them to a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He also became a part-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes and even served as the team’s head coach for a time.
The decision to partner with Gretzky comes as BetMGM looks towards expanding into his native Canada. As the company’s chief revenue officer, Matt Prevost, explains, Gretzky’s unique talent and broad appeal make him the perfect choice to help tell the BetMGM brand story.
“Wayne is an exceptional talent who transcends the sports world, and we’re proud to welcome him to the BetMGM team,” Prevost said. “As we look toward potential expansion into Canada and elsewhere throughout the United States, Wayne will bring a unique ability to tell our brand story.”
This move is a significant step for BetMGM, as it seeks to increase its presence in the sports betting market. The Canadian market is particularly attractive, given the country’s passion for ice hockey and the potential for future growth in the industry.
Trailer Park Boys – PointsBet
In an exciting move for Canadian sports fans, online bookmaker PointsBet has announced a partnership with the Trailer Park Boys. The popular mockumentary series, featuring the well-known scruffy characters of Bubbles, Ricky, and Julian, is set at a fictional trailer park and has gained a significant following over the years.
The collaboration aims to revive commercial mobile sports betting launch in Canada, which was authorized for single-event sports betting last year. PointsBet is among the private-sector online bookmakers expected to participate in the launch, which was projected to begin in late 2021 but is now expected to occur this year.
Nic Sulsky, the chief commercial officer of PointsBet Canada, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, stating that “nothing says Canadian more than the Trailer Park Boys.” The actors portraying the characters also expressed their enthusiasm. Julian (played by John Paul Tremblay) states that it’s great to finally have a legit job with such a cool company, and Bubbles (played by Mike Smith) says he’s very excited to be teaming up with PointsBet Canada.
Under the arrangement, the Trailer Park Boys will appear in advertising campaigns and special VIP-style events, bringing a new, innovative experience to sports fans in Canada. In addition, the characters are expected to remain in character during public appearances, adding a unique and authentic touch to the partnership.
David Rivers, vice president of marketing for PointsBet Canada, emphasized the company’s commitment to building a brand and identity that acknowledges the little intricacies that make us all proud to be Canadian. The partnership with the Trailer Park Boys is a testament to that commitment, offering sports fans a fun and engaging experience nationwide.
Conclusion – Celebrity Endorsements are Here to Stay
The list of celebrities we have explored is just a small sample. There are many more, including Georges St-Pierre (Bet 99), Alysha Newman (Bet 99), Shea-Lynn Noyes (Bet 99), Natasha Staniszewski (BetRivers) and John Tavares (OLG), to name just a few.
Celebrity sportsbook endorsements have significantly increased during the past few years. This practice will almost certainly continue as bookmakers look for fresh, creative ways to entice Canadians to join them.
These sportsbooks are keen to tap into their sizable fan bases and increase visibility to a broader audience with the aid of well-known athletes and sports stars.
It’s a tried and tested tactic, and the promotion of sportsbooks by celebrities has proven profitable for the companies that hire them. The extra income received from the new customers recoups the costs involved.
In conclusion, famous people will continue to endorse sportsbooks. In addition, a growing number of athletes and sports figures will likely team up with sportsbooks as the sports betting market intensifies to draw more players.