Northern Quest Resort & Casino is betting on the drawing power of the ‘stache, as in 6-foot-10-inch Gonzaga University forward Drew Timme.
The casino announced Thursday it has signed a Name, Image and Likeness, or NIL, deal with Timme, who is expected to lead No. 1 Gonzaga (1-0, 0-0) as it pursues another run for a possible national title.
Phil Haugen, chief operating officer for the Kalispel Tribe’s business operations, said he hopes the deal will bring wanted attention to both the casino and the Bulldogs.
“Obviously, (Timme is) one of the better-known players in the area. We thought several people would be going after him,” Haugen said. “We thought it would be good to be at the forefront.”
Timme, a junior forward who scored 11 points Tuesday in Gonzaga’s season opening 97-63 win over Dixie State University, said in a news release that he was excited about the new arrangement.
“This is literally a whole new ballgame for us as student- athletes, with amazing new opportunities available for us to earn income during our college careers,” Timme said. “I was excited when Northern Quest approached me with the idea of a partnership. They’re a strong brand in the Spokane community and they’ve been great, long-time supporters of Gonzaga basketball.”
Haugen said he expects that Timme, considered among the front-runners for national player of the year honors, will be just the first name added the NIL list. He said the casino may partner with other sports leaders from other area schools, including agreements with players from women’s teams.
“The future is still unknown, but there are opportunities and we are going to take them,” Haugen said. “I think we need to explore every opportunity out there to see what is best for all of us.
“This is very new. There are so many unknowns,” he added. “We are just making sure we are following all the rules involved.”
The agreement comes at the same time the casino tries to open its new Turf Club Sports Book.
Kalispel officials had hoped to have the new feature ready by early fall.
The renovations are complete, but the casino has been slowed first by obtaining the computer equipment and now by shipping delays, said Kevin Zenishek, executive director of casino operations at Northern Quest.
“The team is ready,” Zenishek said. “We are just waiting on technical stuff.”
He hopes to have the Turf Club Sports Book open in two to four weeks.
But that operation has nothing to do with the Timme deal, since state law bars gambling on in-state teams, like Gonzaga, University of Washington and Eastern Washington.
Haugen confirmed the Timme agreement is pure marketing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“It’s more about hooking up a couple popular brands in the area,” Haugen said. “Drew can help draw people there with his likeness and people can have a great place to come watch a Gonzaga basketball game – the ones who can’t get into the Kennel, anyway.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.