On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights announced that the NHL club would be partnering with UpickTrade, “a sports betting recommendation service.”
The Golden Knights released the news in a statement, announcing that it would be a multi-year deal. Fans can expect to find a UpickTrade presence throughout Golden Knights-related webpages. Their presence will also be found during the in-person game day experience.
It’s the first time that a Mexican-based company is partnering with an NHL club.
Golden Knights Vice President of Global Partnerships Mike Mungiello said in the announcement that he was excited about the new deal.
"We are thrilled to partner with UpickTrade.com and become the first professional sports franchise to partner with a sports recommendation service," said Mungiello.
The feeling was mutual on the Upick side of the partnership.
"We are the first sports recommendation pick service to partner with a major professional sports franchise,” said CEO of UpickTrade Carlos Lazo Reyes. “The Vegas Golden Knights are a dynamic sports franchise that has been successful since their inaugural season in 2017.
Golden Knights Fans Unhappy with Partnership
Partnerships aren’t new to the sports world. In recent history, professional sports teams will sometimes partner with sportsbooks as sports betting becomes legalized across North America. However, as Reyes mentioned, this is the first time that a “pick service” is partnering with a team.
Now, some fans are unhappy with that idea. In fact, some even took to Twitter to voice their displeasure in direct response to the Golden Knights’ announcement.
Part of the controversy comes with the fact that people will be paying money to UpickTrade to get betting advice. The fear is that a pick service being tied to an NHL team could potentially affect the outcome of various games.
Bryan Leonard, who said that he’s a Golden Knights season ticket holder, doesn’t like the partnership. One reason is because he’s never heard of UpickTrade before. Typically when a sports team partners with another organization, it’s a well-known entity.
Does UpickTrade Spread Potentially Dangerous Message?
Scrolling through the replies to the Golden Knights’ announcement, it seems like barely any fans are on board with the partnership. That is if any are feeling positive towards it at all. One person even went as far as having an issue with a message that UpickTrade has on their homepage.
Twitter user @NotNeifi pointed out that upon arriving at UpickTrade’s website, visitors are greeted with the phrase “Make a Living Off of Sports!”
Most trusted sportsbooks and gambling sites promote safe and responsible gaming. At the same time, UpickTrade is telling people that they can “make a living off” of sports betting. There’s no such thing as a guaranteed bet, no matter how good the odds are. If people take UpickTrade’s words as gospel, there could be a dangerous fallout.
Even Todd Fuhrman, a sports betting analyst and co-founder of the “Bet The Board” podcast, has his own hesitations about this partnership.
“The @GoldenKnights have been a model organization from Day 1,” Fuhrman tweeted. “However deciding as a franchise to endorse a pick selling service through official trademarks doesn’t feel like the best long term branding strategy for responsible gaming/credibility.”
Whether or not any of the worst-case scenarios come true remains to be seen. It will be interesting to monitor the situation going forward. Especially if any other sports teams follow in the Golden Knights’ steps.