Here is a look at how the NFL TV ratings jump may be due to legal sports betting. With the booming success that legalized sports gambling has been, there’s plenty of reason to believe that betting will drive up the ratings of sports broadcasts. Why? Quite simply, more people should be foreseeably watching the games to learn if their sports bet pans out as a winner or not.
"The audience is incredibly ready for it and they’re conditioned to it," Larry Samuels, of Strategic Acceleration Ventures, told Forbes. "Fantasy sports, knockout pools, all of those things are, in a way, gambling. They're creating an incentive and a reason for people to watch, people to engage and to stick with a broadcast much longer than they would have otherwise because they’re invested in what’s going on. This is a great hook. The leagues, even though they’ve been so cautious and so quiet, they’re going to make a fortune with this."
Mike Raffensperger, chief marketing officer for FanDuel Group, informed Forbes that ratings for the 2018 NFL season are up three percent thus far, but he added, “it's a little early to tell” if that ratings boost is due to legalized sports gambling in New Jersey.
Raffensperger did, however, say that sports betting makes even a lopsided game fun to watch.
“It's not a lot of fun to watch a blowout,” he told Forbes, “but it is fun if you’re waiting for a certain prop bet."
Just the thought of broadcast ratings going up is probably music to sports broadcasters’ ears, especially ESPN, which has signed lengthy broadcast deals with major sports leagues that don’t end until at least 2021, according to Forbes.
Dan Shapiro, the VP, strategy & business development for William Hill US, told Forbes that baseball is particularly great for in-game betting because fans can do “inning-by-inning betting,” adjusting and weighing in on the game as it goes.
As the NFL and NBA seasons continue, it will be interesting to check the broadcast ratings again next month and December to see if there’s a significant increase.
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