NFL set to make $2.3 billion from legalised betting: Nielsen


The National Football League (NFL) could potentially add over $2.3 billion to their revenues from the expected boom in US Sports gambling. The windfall follows the US Supreme Court ruling in May this year to legalise sports betting and gambling in the country.

This is seen as a significant boost to NFL’s status as the richest sports league in the world. The professional American football league has netted $8.2 billion in revenues last season.

A study by global data measurement and analytics company Nielsen for the American Gaming Association (AGA) has revealed the potential $2.3 billion earnings for the NFL. The findings are based on a survey of more than 1,000 adult Americans, including some who identified themselves as sports gamblers. The respondents were asked how the presence of a regulated sports betting market would impact their viewership and interest in the NFL.

Out of the projected amount, $1.75 billion is expected to come as a result of increased revenue from fan engagement where revenue is not incurred directly form betting operators but rather as a result of increased consumption and engagement with the league and its content/products. The rest is set to accrue from gaming-related revenue which includes revenue directly paid from betting operators in the form of sponsorships, advertising and product fees.

An estimated $1.4 billion is expected to come from an increase in media rights fees and the rest of the fan engagement revenue is to come from sponsorships ($100 million), merchandise ($9 million) and ticket sales ($224 million). The total fan engagement revenue is expected to see a 13.4% upsurge to reach $14.8 billion.

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Sara Slane, senior vice president for AGA, “Legal, regulated sports betting will create huge new revenue opportunities for sports leagues –and the NFL could be the biggest winner of all.”

Nielsen’s report does not factor in ‘integrity fees’, where the league would get a cut on the bets on the NFL games. The AGA has staunchly opposed such a model. “So much time has been spent on talk over integrity fees. We think these numbers are conservative and show that the league is frankly tripping over dollars to pick up pennies,” Slane added.

Annual purchasing of league data, mostly for live in-game betting, would result in $30 million a year in revenue to the league, the report projects. The AGA is not opposed to the idea of betting operators purchasing the official league data, but it does not want the purchase to be mandatory as a point of entry.

The report, however, assumes that sports betting would be legalized, and regulated, throughout the country. Currently, only Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Mississippi have passed legislation legalizing gambling in their state. NFL, which opposed legalised sports betting for years before the reversal of the federal ban, wants casino brands advertising with its franchises to buy official league data.

With the introduction of sports betting, the belief is that fans with money riding on games will be more likely to watch than they have been in the past. A previous survey by AGA found that about 19% of football fans already bet on games, either illegally or with offshore online services. It also found that 31% of football fans expect to bet on games once it becomes legal, which will be a 60% increase.