While sports gambling remains legal in only a handful of states, many major sports broadcasters can taste the potential. Already, a number of TV broadcasters are trying to capitalize on the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that determined elements of a law banning sports betting in most states are unconstitutional.
Case in point is the Wall Street Journal headline “ESPN and Fox Ante Up for Sports-Betting Jackpot; Warner Media among media giants producing content geared to gamblers after Supreme Court ruling.” For one, ESPN has covered the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors from every conceivable angle, devoting “a significant amount of airtime to bettors with such details as points individual players scored and whether the favored team won by enough to beat the spread,” the story says.
Meanwhile, this spring, the Walt Disney Co. unit began airing “Daily Wager,” a one-hour show aimed at sports gamblers, on its ESPNews channel. “We approach this like ‘SportsCenter’ with betting,” host Doug Kezirian told the Journal. And Turner Sports, part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, struck a partnership earlier this year with Caesars Entertainment to produce sports-betting content, including video segments shot from a newly built studio inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Add to that a Fox show for sports bettors that debuted in 2018, while the company is working on launching its own betting app.
So far, legal sports gambling is now active to varying degrees in eight states, and bills to legalize the practice have been passed in several others, WSJ explains, with a salivating statistic: If sports betting was legal nationally, it would generate more than $17 billion annually, with media companies making between $3 billion and $5 billion in additional revenue, according to Chris Grove, Managing Director for sports and emerging verticals at research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
And there’s more. Sinclair Broadcast Group has said it is positioned to capitalize on legalized sports betting after it agreed to buy regional sports networks from Fox for $10.6 billion. As Inside Radio reported last month, the deal includes local TV rights to 42 professional teams, comprising 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams and 12 National Hockey League teams. It also includes Fox College Sports.
Notes Jim Lanzone, CEO of CBS Interactive, in the Journal piece, “The floodgates are starting to open, not only for more gambling-focused content, but entirely new data products that appeal to people trying to gain an edge.”