A new Nielsen Sports study commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA) has found that the National Football League’s (NFL) annual revenue could be boosted by as much as $2.3bn a year due to widely available, legal, regulated sports betting.

The study analyzes the revenue streams that legal sports betting could generate for the NFL: revenue as a result of spending from betting operators on advertising, data and sponsorship, and revenue generated as a result of increased consumption of the league’s media and purchasing of products.

According to Nielsen Sports, greater fan engagement and viewership could boost the NFL’s total annual revenue from media rights, sponsorships, merchandise and ticket sales by 13.4 percent, producing $1.75bin in new revenue from increased consumption of the league’s products.

The report also suggests that legal sports betting could help the NFL generate an additional $573m in revenue as a result of spending by betting operators and data providers. The study projects that gaming operators may spend $451m on advertising, which will directly increase the league’s rights fees by the same amount. An additional $92m in sponsorship revenue and $30m in data is also projected for the league and its teams.

“Legal, regulated sports betting will create huge new revenue opportunities for sports leagues – and the NFL could be the biggest winner of all,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association. “Once legal sports betting expands across the country, the NFL could take in more than $2bn a year, reinforcing how much sports leagues stand to gain from increased viewership and private partnerships with sports betting operators.”

To quantify the value of a legal sports betting market to the NFL, Nielsen Sports surveyed more than 1,000 adult sports fans – including NFL fans – and self-identified sports bettors nationwide to model how a national, legal sports betting market would affect the sports consumption habits of non-bettors, casual bettors and avid bettors, and how this change in consumption would translate to increased revenue.

SBC Americas analysis: The advent of a fully regulated sports betting sector in America was always likely to generate extra revenue given the vast opportunities for sponsorship, advertising and data provision that have still to be fully shaped and exploited. The AGA’s study puts a healthy number on that potential revenue – one that will make the NFL take notice. Of course, Nielsen, the author of the study, has gone for a ‘best case scenario’ in its reporting and that can’t be overlooked. But crucially, even if the projections fall a little short of that $2.3bn figure, it still represents new money coming into the sport, not a recycling of existing spend. In this day and age, new money flowing into a long established sector of business can only be a good thing. It’s certainly rare.