With most of its customers hailing from The Lone Star State, it makes sense that Choctaw Casinos and Resorts decided to enlist Texas sports legends as its newest brand ambassadors.
With a multi-million-dollar investment, Troy Aikman, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Darren Woodson become the faces of Choctaw’s “Where the Players Play” campaign. The Oklahoma-based casino chain follows a trend heavily used by online sports betting apps of using famous athletes to increase brand recognition and entice new customers.
Texans visit Oklahoma casinos because there are none in Lone Star State
Millions of Texans frequent Oklahoma casinos every year. Texas has no commercial casinos, and there are no Texas online casinos.
The Choctaw chain consists of seven casinos, with the flagship just 90 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth in Durant. Choctaw-Durant is a massive facility with 7,400 slot machines, table games, a poker room, entertainment venues, more than 20 restaurants and bars plus a AAA Four-Diamond Rated hotel. The facility underwent a $600 million expansion in 2021.
Janie Dillard, a Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma executive, said Texans make up a major portion of its customer base.
“The North Texas market is home to a large majority of our annual visitors. And we can’t wait to have these sports icons represent and celebrate the Choctaw brand.”
‘Where the Players Play’ is a four-year campaign
Announced at the end of August, the “Where the Players Play” campaign includes a four-year partnership with sports icons. It includes television, radio, social media and online video promotions. In addition, Choctaw’s casinos will feature imagery of the former athletes.
Aikman and Woodson, former players with the Dallas Cowboys, are three-time Super Bowl champions. Aikman, who moved to Oklahoma at the age of 12 and played high school and college football in Oklahoma, sealed his place in sports lore as a quarterback with the Cowboys for 12 seasons and is now a lead commentator on Monday Night Football.
“Choctaw Casinos & Resorts has come onto the sports scene in a big way. As a proud Oklahoman, I couldn’t be more excited to join their roster for this trailblazing campaign.”
Woodson spent his entire career with Dallas as a safety. Rodriguez, a Texas Rangers Hall of Famer and one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, played two stints with the team.
“Choctaw Casinos & Resorts’ strong relationship with the Texas Rangers is just one more reason why this partnership makes perfect sense.”
This isn’t Choctaw’s first foray into sports marketing. The Nation acquired naming rights to the former home of the Rangers in 2021, Globe Life Park. Now known as Choctaw Stadium, the facility is the home of the current XFL champions, the Arlington Renegades.
Choctaw is also the official and exclusive casino and resort partner of several teams and arenas in North Texas. They include the Rangers, the Dallas Stars, the Dallas Mavericks, Dickies Arena and the Dallas Marathon. Overall, Choctaw has 24 sports-related partnerships.
Choctaw and Winstar casinos rely on Texas customers
Choctaw competes with other casinos which sit just across the Texas border, including WinStar World Casino Resort in Thackerville. It is the world’s largest casino resort, owned by the Chickasaw Nation. WinStar is the official casino of the Cowboys and MLS team FC Dallas.
The border casinos rely heavily on customer traffic from North Texas. According to the Dallas Morning News, 80% of Choctaw and WinStar customers live in the Dallas area.
Choctaw’s new campaign will help to solidify its place as one of the top gambling destinations for North Texans. And with resort-style casino gambling years away from another chance at becoming legal in The Lone Star State, the casino can reap the benefits of increasing its profile with celebrity brand ambassadors.