Networks are scrambling to get as much betting content to air as possible before football season.

  • Sinclair Broadcasting recently agreed to acquire 21 regional sports networks and Fox College Sports from The Walt Disney Co. for $10.6 billion.
  • ESPN previously signed a partnership with Caesars Entertainment to run it’s ‘Daily Wager’ program.
  • There are currently 11 states with active sportsbooks and 17 that have legalized sports betting since the repeal of PASPA.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – While sports bettors across the country are beginning to bet at their local sportsbooks, T.V. broadcasters and regional sports networks are also looking to get a piece of the action.

Earlier this week, Iowa became the 11th state in the nation to launch state-regulated sports betting. Other states such as Indiana and Illinois have also legalized the activity and are awaiting to launch sportsbooks of their own.

More states are expected to pass legislation in the coming years, but not all will be on board. This is why regional sports networks are at the forefront of trying to capture an entirely new audience to their programs.

This could be highlighted by a recent deal between Sinclair Broadcasting Group and the Walt Disney Company. In May, Sinclair agreed to purchase 21 regional sports networks from Disney for a reported $10.6 billion.

“If you’re interested in gaming, we’re going to add extra stats, the ability to do prop bets in the game, pitch by pitch, play by play,” said Christopher Ripley, CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting Group. “You can play along and wager while you watch.”

However, this isn’t an entirely new concept. In January of this year, NBC Sports Washington became the first regional sports network to provide an alternate game cast for a Washington Wizards game.

The game was broadcasted on NBC Sports Washington Plus and featured live stats and questions presented on screen that viewers could answer as the game played out in real-time. Whoever predicted the most amount of questions correctly was able to win a prize.

The network has also done the same for the Washington Redskins first preseason game of 2019. While it isn’t legal sports betting in the traditional sense with moneylines, spreads, and totals bets, it does give an indication into the future of sports broadcasting.

For now, it seems that many television broadcasters are trying to create programs in order to educate and familiarize potential sports bettors with the activity.

“You have to make sure the casual fans understand what is being said, and this can include the content on the broadcast or website, and could include a half sentence parenthetical to explain it,” said Dan Pozner of NBC Sports to TVTechnology.

“We don’t want those not into sports betting to feel like they’re not part of the conversation.”

This is why in January NBC Sports launched The Daily Line, a four-hour radio show dedicated to sports wagering content. The program features call-ins from both sports betting pros and regular sports fans.

The Daily line is broadcasted out NBC Sports’ Washington studio but airs on other regional television networks such as Chicago. While the program is aimed at markets that already have legal sports betting, national coverage of the activity is about to be underway.

In March of this year, ESPN launched a new segment on ESPNEWS known as Daily Wager. The program serves to inform sports bettors and the general public with in-depth sports betting analysis. The show has been airing from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and odds are provided by Caesars Entertainment.

However, beginning next week, Daily Wager will be airing on ESPN2 in order to reach a larger audience.  The show will even have a Sunday slot aimed for the NFL season.

With the advent of stakeholders from across the sports betting industry trying to target potential sports bettors, the American Gaming Association has published the Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering.

“The gaming industry has an obligation to extend our decades-long commitment to responsibility to this growing sector, and that’s exactly what this effort codifies,” said Bill Miller, president and chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association.

 

“We are setting a high bar for sports betting advertising and will continue to ensure that everyone involved in the expansion of legalized sports betting across the country – gaming operators, sports leagues and teams, broadcasters and other business – rise to this standard.”

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