Brad Reagan and Chris Kirkham:
The lifeblood of the sports industry is the billions of dollars leagues collect from broadcast networks. With ratings softening in the era of cord-cutting and streaming, the changing views of commissioners reflect an increased appreciation for new technologies that could heighten engagement with fans—and possibly generate new revenue streams as well.
Many sports executives are especially intrigued by the potential of expanded in-game betting, a mobile-friendly type of wagering that accounts for the majority of sports gambling in Europe, according to gambling-industry executives. That type of wagering represents a fraction of U.S. betting, in large part because the legal sports-betting markets are so small that they don’t justify the required investments, these executives said.
The leagues “are reversing themselves, but in a very shrewd and strategic way,” said one lawyer who has been involved in the issue for many years. “They are trying to find ways to make money.”
Is there any question that gambling and the major professional sports leagues are officially tied together eventually? No, there is not. It's just a matter of when.
The NFL holds the strongest stance against it -- and just voted to move a team to Las Vegas. The other leagues are warming quickly to the idea. Which could not be any less surprising. That revenue is going to need to some from somewhere as television deals morph...Read more...