Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon first player in MLB history with sportsbook partnership

Pete Rose would be proud. 

In a historic move last week, MaximBet announced that it was partnering with Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon — a first for an active Major League Baseball player.

Blackmon, a four-time All-Star and winner of the National League batting title in 2017, will serve as a brand ambassador in marketing campaigns, promotions and social media content for the Colorado-based online sports betting company. 

“As I learned more about MaximBet, I knew this absolutely was the right brand for me,” Blackmon said in a press release. “MaximBet has really attached itself to the local Colorado community, and I cannot wait to have some fun with MaximBet and surprising fans with incredible ‘money can’t buy’ experiences all season.”

Following the announcement, some fans pointed out the hypocrisy of an MLB player promoting a sportsbook — considering the game’s long and controversial history with betting — as well as questioned how it is allowed by league rules. 

The new collective bargaining agreement — the one that was haggled over for months during the league’s 99-day lockout — allows players and coaches to have partnerships with betting companies. Previously, only the league and teams could have such agreements. 

However, Blackmon can only promote the company and betting generally, not wagering on baseball specifically. Obviously, MLB players are still prohibited from betting on games. 

Arguably no team has been as accepting of sports betting as the Washington Nationals, who this season became the first MLB team to have a retail sportsbook — BetMGM — attached to the ballpark. More teams are following as sports betting becomes legal in more states, as 30 states and D.C. allow it now. And national broadcasts, like Apple TV+’s “Friday Night Baseball” games include mentions of betting lines and live probabilities.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN earlier this month that sports betting is good for “fan engagement.” 

“It’s an additional way for our fans to interact with the game,” Manfred said, per ESPN. “I do think in-game betting is going to be a significant component. I think if you talk to people who are experts in the field that they don’t see outcome betting as a major growth area. It is in fact in-game betting, so-called prop betting, that is going to be the growth area.”

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