Next NCAA President, Charlie Baker

  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will become the next president of the NCAA as of March 2023.
  • Unlike the current NCAA president, Mark Emmert, Baker supports legal sports betting in the US.
  • The 2021 NCAA March Madness Championship saw a 14% decline in total viewership to 16.9 million.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.Charlie Baker, active Massachusetts Governor, has been announced as the new president of the NCAA. Baker decided to not run for reelection in MA and will finish his current term in January and will officially focus his attention on the NCAA in March 2023.

Baker has openly supported legal sports betting for years and even brought regulated betting to Massachusetts in Augusts 2022. Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA until March, has strongly opposed views to legal sports betting because of the potential impacts that it could have on student-athletes.

This opposition derives from the idea that students could purposefully blow a game, to make money off of playing collegiate sports. However, the NCAA created a rule called NIL (name, image, and likeness), allowing student-athletes to accept sponsorships and receive money through specific guidelines/regulations.

With this rule being in play since 2021, the speculation about college sports being tampered with by legal sports betting has died down. While Baker did not fully support college sports betting in Massachusetts, he did support betting on college tournaments that consist of over four teams, with March Madness in mind.

How Does Sports Betting Benefit The NCAA

While legal sports betting on college sports does not directly offer a payout to the NCAA, there are benefits in fully supporting legal betting. The NCAA could follow in the NFL’s footsteps and create partnerships with the different commercial sportsbooks in the US.

In 2021, the NFL agreed to a three-way exclusive sports betting partnership with Caesars Entrainment, FanDuel, and DraftKings.

Does Sports Betting Affect Viewership?

While certain college sporting events have seen increased viewership, this could continue it increase with the president of the NCAA embracing legal sports betting in the US.

The NFL had an average viewership of 15.2 million during the 2017 season when Vegas was the only place that offered sate regulated sportsbooks.

From 2017 to 2022, the annual average viewership from the NFL has increased, as legal betting has become normalized in the US. 2020 was the only year that the average did not increase, as the season was shortened and games were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

NFL Viewership by Year

  • 2017 – 15.2 million
  • 2018 – 15.8 million
  • 2019 – 16.5 million
  • 2020 – 14.9 million
  • 2021 – 17.1 million

There are currently over 30 states with legal sports betting. When players are putting money on the line, there is reason to watch the games unfold, even if the bettor would not normally track NFL action. The 2021 March Madness final recorded a 14% decline in viewership with 16.9 million watching on CBS.

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