At one time, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was a must-add for your fantasy football team. WynnBet is banking on Ohioans remembering his face and name from the prime of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals as it tries to grow its brand in the state.
While the fate of gambling expansion in Ohio is still up in the air, WynnBet is wasting no time in securing coveted placement in front of Buckeye State sports fans by naming the former NFL All-Pro wide receiver to a brand ambassadorship deal.
To what extent the partnerships become profitable, though, depends on the terms of future gambling expansion.
Chad Ochocinco Johnson and WynnBet team up
WynnBet, which announced the signing last week, will use Johnson in its digital and physical advertising. Johnson will also be present at select events and make appearances on the brand’s Blue Wire podcast. He joins former US Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard and another former NFL player, Nick Mangold, on WynnBet’s spokesperson roster.
Johnson, who once legally changed his name to Ochocinco, did some endorsement work during his NFL career. Those brands included GoDaddy, Reebok and Unilever. He lost most of those contracts due to an arrest on domestic violence charges in 2012, however.
Johnson has appeared on Bleacher Report since 2019, keeping his personal brand relevant for sports fans such as contributing to the platform’s sports betting content.
Johnson played in the NFL from 2001 to 2011, mostly with the Bengals. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2006 and was a two-time first-team All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection. Now, WynnBet hopes he can produce in Ohio again.
However, WynnBet isn’t banking its entire strategy on Johnson alone in Ohio. It has another prominent partner in the Buckeye State.
WynnBet seeing red in Cincinnati
In June, WynnBet scored a sponsorship deal with the Cincinnati Reds. Although the partnership is currently aimed at Reds fans in neighboring Indiana, it will certainly take any benefit in Ohio as well.
The deal gives WynnBet the use of Reds trademarks in special promotions. Could those promos be available in Ohio someday? It’s possible. There is a bill to legalize Ohio sports betting working its way through the capital. It’s currently in negotiations between the state’s two legislative chambers.
The two bodies could agree on a proposal as early as mid-September when their recess ends. If Gov. Mike DeWine assents, possible paths to licensure in Ohio could materialize for WynnBet. Should the operator receive such a license, then it could truly capitalize on its Ohio assets.
Although there is no Wynn property in the state, the aforementioned bill would allow casino and “racino” license holders to have two online “skins.” The bill also would allow the Reds themselves to hold a sports betting license and contract with a third party to actually handle the sportsbook’s operations.
With this deal in place, WynnBet could have an inside track to be that third party for the Reds. That’s provided those terms make it into an enacted law, of course. At this point, that looks probable, but it’s still an assumption.
At the very least, WynnBet has aligned itself with Johnson and the Reds to get its logo and name in front of Ohioans. It has also put itself in an enviable position should gambling expansion in Ohio take the right path.