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Gambling Has Little Effect On NFL Ratings in 2019

“If gambling is generating a ratings boost, it’s reasonable to expect to see a return in Philly and Pittsburgh where their seasons in 2018 and 2019 embodied nearly constant variables.”

Brandon Contes



Sports Gambling, latest sports news

After a downswing in TV ratings caused concern for the NFL in 2016 and 2017, the league bounced back with a 5% viewership uptick in consecutive seasons. Timing for legalized gambling parallels the ratings bump, but according to Bill King of The Sports Business Journal, betting hasn’t yet generated an increased for NFL viewership.

As legalized sports wagering expanded into several states, there has been many investments into gambling-related content. Leagues, teams and TV networks create new betting partnerships and programming, but according to King, its not adding to TV ratings.

According to the article, 2019 TV ratings in Philadelphia for NFL games on FOX, CBS and NBC affiliates only saw a 1 percent increase over the 2018 season. The Eagles made the playoffs with a 9-7 record during both seasons, representing a constant when analyzing data, but even with legalized gambling, local NFL ratings still only saw 1 percent growth. 

Similarly in Pittsburgh, the Steelers barely missed the playoffs in both seasons, but TV ratings were down 3 percent in 2019. The article notes ratings were down in Indianapolis where legalized sports gambling was approved in September, but the Colts also lost their starting quarterback Andrew Luck less than a week prior.

If gambling is generating a ratings boost, it’s reasonable to expect to see a return in Philly and Pittsburgh where their seasons in 2018 and 2019 embodied nearly constant variables. 

Several sportsbook executives offered explanations to SBJ’s King, as to why legalized wagering hasn’t created an increase in TV viewership.

“These people [betting now] were watching anyway,” said Fox Bet CEO Robin Chhabra. “As the sports gambling market matures and you have more [casual] people coming in, it will be those people who will tune in more often and for longer. There are early signs that that will be the case. But you’re not going to see that at the moment.”

“The thing I constantly tell people is: This is going to take time. Be patient,” said Sara Slane, a sports betting industry consultant. “While I do think that sports betting is going to be the greatest fan engagement tool that the sports industry and media industry have ever seen, to get to that point a lot of steps are going to have to happen.

“The operators are seeing a lot of success with avid sports bettors, but I think they have yet to scratch the surface with those casual bettors, which is the ultimate goal. Once they start crossing over to that, you’ll see more of a direct link between legalized states and an increase in viewership.”

A lack of examples to this point doesn’t mean sports wagering won’t lead to increased TV ratings eventually, but for now, it seems that most gamblers were already watching the games.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

ESPN Reportedly To Lose Big Ten Media Rights For the First Time in 40 Years

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Jordan Bondurant




After several months, it appears the Big Ten is nearing the finish line on a new media rights deal. And despite still reportedly being in negotiations with the conference, ESPN is looking set to lose out on media rights.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, CBS and NBC are the frontrunners to join with FOX.

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Ourand reported his sources told him ESPN’s deal to keep the Big Ten was not as strong as the one offered by the other two networks.

It would mark the first time in four decades that ESPN didn’t have some involvement in Big Ten sports. But Ourand indicates the worldwide leader could pivot into bundling Big 12 and Pac-12 rights as an alternative. Additionally the network would then pursue keeping its deals with NCAA for championship coverage as well as being the home for the College Football Playoff.

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Sports TV News

Pat McAfee: Deals With Amazon/ESPN Fell Short Because The Show Comes First

“Energy, time, anything away from this show… we got a lot going on. This is my number one focus and it should remain as such…”

Jordan Bondurant



Last week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would be hosting his own version of the popular Manning Cast only for college football games.

McAfee, co-host AJ Hawk, and the rest of his cast and crew from The Pat McAfee Show will host an alternate feed for six college football games this season.

McAfee was rumored to be in talks with Amazon about potentially hosting an alternate broadcast for its Thursday NFL games, and the former Colts punter had also reportedly talking with ESPN about potentially being featured on College GameDay.

McAfee said to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post that ultimately the Amazon and GameDay deals didn’t come to fruition because it just didn’t make sense.

“I’ve had great conversations with both companies, we just weren’t able to get to a point where ‘the ask’ and ‘the business’ were where it needed to be to get a deal done on both fronts,” McAfee said.

McAfee on his show on Monday elaborated a bit further, trying to put to bed that he was being courted for Thursday Night Football.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s what we were talking about, by the way,” he said. “I was never really approached for anything for Thursday Night Football. That was never really anything.”

Pat read from the full response to Marchand’s questions, posted under the Post story which appeared on the paper’s site Monday. He reiterated that his daily show and the small business he built around his show, take precedent over anything else.

“Energy, time, anything away from this show, this operation, this crew; we got families being built, we got houses being bought, we got 12 employees, we got a lot going on,” he said. “So this is my number one focus and it should remain as such because I have a brain, and also I care a lot about this operation. I love it, actually.”

Still, McAfee made it clear that just because no deal was signed with ESPN and Amazon for 2022 means the ship has sailed permanently. He’s keeping his doors open.

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Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams



In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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