With the emergence of widespread sports betting in the USA, we’ve seen the vast majority of the major sports leagues – including the NBA, MLB, and NHL – join forces with sports books, allowing the bookmakers to use live statistics and official licensing on their platforms.
Notably absent from these deals, however, has been the NFL. While ESPNews recently rebranded to show live odds and statistics concurrently with its primary programming, nothing official from the NFL may be shown—the sport is listed as Professional Football, and the teams are simply listed by city name (and between AFC/NFC, if needed).
It appears, though, that the NFL is beginning to dip its toes into the increasingly popular pool. The NFL reached an agreement with Australian sports bookmaker, Tabcorp, which will allow the Aussie platform to stream NFL RedZone and NFL Network, as well as utilize official team branding.
Per NFL Executive Vice President Chris Halpin, this approach will allow the NFL to essentially learn the tricks of the trade while the market continues to burgeon in the U.S. According to Halpin, “[a]s we do things in Australia and elsewhere, and we learn, it could shape how we might go to market in the U.S. down the road.”
This results in a deluge of additional considerations for when the NFL inevitably continues this progress into its homeland. For instance, a monumental question exists as to how eventual partnerships will affect current and prospective television rights; who needs the cable subscription when they can easily stream the game via the bookmaker?
With current owners Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft owning stake in local sports books FanDuel and DraftKings, the 2020 NFL Draft being held in Las Vegas, the Raiders’ imminent relocation to Vegas, and this newest partnership with TabCorp, it’s more of a question of when we will see the NFL truly adopt the sports-betting mantra here in the states.