According to a recent Nielsen study commissioned by the American Gaming Association, there will be a marked shift towards legal forms of sports betting in the US, with increased fan engagement in major sporting contests. The chief beneficiary of this uplift, said the report, is likely to be the NFL which could see growth of 60 per cent in sports betting, followed by the MLB (+55 per cent), with the NBA and NHL on an equal footing (+24 per cent), post-PASPA.
Looking specifically at the NFL figures SBC Americas asked Benjie Cherniak, managing director of Don Best Sports, for his take on Nielsen’s findings. He said: “My view is that we will see a significant uplift. But it will materialize over time, season by season, firstly as more and more states come on board; secondly as the NFL becomes more proactive in working with betting companies to create as synergistic a framework as possible for betting on their sport; and thirdly we see more media exposure and advertising related to the betting space, led by the interest in betting on NFL.”
He added: “What we are witnessing in the US is a gradual cultural change in attitudes towards sports betting. The change in position is from betting being viewed as taboo to being viewed as culturally accepted and mainstream. The more the paradigm continues to shift in the years ahead, the more the betting activity on NFL – and other sports – will increase.”
Cherniak also offered some thoughts on the forthcoming NFL season which is just about ready to kick off. “The increased betting activity will be restricted to a few states, but it will be very interesting to see how media across the country incorporates the betting space into their content,” he observed. “We know that Fox Sports will have a daily sports betting show, and we are seeing betting specific sections in online media, such as cnnsi.com. To what extent the NFL commentators discuss points spreads during the live broadcasts remains to be seen and is an interesting sub-plot as the season prepares to get underway.”
Finally, we asked the Don Best boss if he was prepared to predict the outcome of the coming season’s Super Bowl. “I’m actually predicting a rematch of 2017’s game between the Patriots and the Falcons,” he responded. “New England is dominant year in and year out, so I’m not going out on a limb with that selection. As for Atlanta, they made the Super Bowl two years ago, and last year came up one play short against the Eagles, the eventual champs. I think Atlanta makes it back to the big game this year, which coincidentally takes place on their home field. I’ll then pick Atlanta to beat New England in the rematch thus becoming the first team ever to win a Super Bowl playing at home!”