The NFL made it easier for fans to bet on their favorite teams by partnering with sportsbooks. These sportsbooks are like financial services brokers. They seek liquidity and capture “vig” for each bet. The NFL has made sure to put the onus on the operators to ensure there is no insider betting. The NFL also licenses its official data and video to these sportsbooks.
As the NFL has forged partnerships with sportsbooks, they have become the league’s exclusive betting partners. The NFL is looking to generate $270 million in revenue this season. In addition to partnering with sportsbooks, the league has infused betting content into broadcasts. This includes the addition of spreads and betting lines at the bottom of screens, as well as free-play games. The NFL also offers gambling-related training to its players.
The NFL’s shift in the gambling space comes as cord cutting disrupts business models. ESPN has built a Las Vegas set for gambling content, while Fox has launched its own sportsbook, Fox Bet. Both of these media companies have been cautious to integrate gambling into their broadcasts, and they are now moving headfirst into this content.
The UFC has also tightened its sports betting policy. Under their conduct policy, athletes, coaches, and family members cannot bet on fights. The UFC’s policy also prohibits fixing matches. This policy is directly beneath the NFL’s prohibition on corruption.
The NFL has done a good job of balancing its desire to protect its brand with its ability to offer a unique, engaging betting experience to fans. Earlier this year, the league began to license its international video to sportsbooks. It also permitted sportsbook-sponsored betting lounges. In April, the NFL announced its official sports-betting partners.