The United Soccer League playoffs are upon us and an Arizona sports betting operator will serve as the event’s main sponsor.
Louisville-based TwinSpires Sportsbook is partnering with USL Championship and USL League One to promote its playoffs, which kick off this week.
The partnership, announced in a press release Monday, allows TwinSpires Sportsbook to offer a free-to-play “pick-‘em” game on the USL mobile app. Fans can score prizes when they make the most correct selections on playoff contests.
TwinSpires also will offer special promotions to users in states where it operates online sports betting — Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
"As the sports gaming industry continues to grow across the United States, we’re excited to partner with TwinSpires for the 2021 playoffs," USL Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Josh Keller said in the press release. "With the most exciting part of the USL Championship and League One seasons upon us, this partnership will allow our fans to be even more invested in every drama-filled match through different contests and promotions."
Impact on Arizona USL Teams
The TwinSpires Sportsbook-USL partnership is interesting given how the state handed out its licenses for Arizona sports betting apps.
The Arizona Department of Gaming granted sports betting licenses to 10 professional sports entities, but the USL's Phoenix Rising was not in that group.
The franchise did not want to comment Monday on the USL’s partnership with TwinSpires or its prospects of receiving a betting license in the future.
On the pitch, Phoenix Rising appears poised for a deep playoff run. The team is the Western Conference's top seed in the USL Championship playoffs, a year after reaching the league’s championship match.
Phoenix Rising hosts Rio Grande Valley FC at 7:30 p.m. Arizona time Saturday in the conference quarterfinals, with the winner playing either San Diego Loyal FC or San Antonio FC in the conference semifinals.
FC Tucson hosts the Richmond Kickers in the play-in round of the USL League One playoffs at 7 p.m. Arizona time Saturday, with the winner playing Greenville Triumph SC in the semifinal round on Nov. 12.
How Each Team Fared in 2021
It was a regular season to remember for both Phoenix Rising and FC Tucson.
Rising finished the 2021 campaign with the second-most wins in the 32-team league (20), while FC Tucson finished above .500 for the first time since becoming a USL-sanctioned team in 2019.
PRFC posted its fifth consecutive winning season, clinching the Western Conference regular season title for the second time in franchise history — last doing so in 2019.
FC Tucson qualified for this year’s USL League One Playoffs, thanks to a 9-6-4 mark down the stretch — claiming the fourth spot in the six-team postseason.