NHL could win big from sports betting

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A study by Nielsen Sports has revealed that the National Hockey League (NHL) could receive an annual income boost of up to $216 million thanks to the growth of legal sports betting in the US.

The report was commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and found that sports betting could lead to increased fan engagement and higher viewing figures, which would boost the NHL’s profitability in a number of areas, including media rights, merchandise and ticket sales.

According to the senior vice president of public affairs at the AGA, Sara Slane, the growth of sports betting was an opportunity for the NHL:

Today’s announcement reaffirms that legal, regulated sports betting will create significant new revenue opportunities for sports leagues. Much like the NHL’s recent successful expansion into Las Vegas, legal sports betting will continue to expand across the country, bringing with it a $216m opportunity for the league.”

Rights fees

The study found that another potential source of increased revenue for the NHL could be the additional spending by data providers and betting operators. Nielsen found that gaming operators are likely to spend as much as $24 million on advertising, which would boost the NHL’s data rights fees by the same amount. The league could also benefit from an additional $35m in sponsorship and $6m in data rights, figures which could increase over the long term.

In carrying out their study, Nielsen Sports sought the opinions of over 1,000 sports fans along with sports bettors, to assess the likely impact on sports consumption habits of a national legal sports betting market, and whether this would have an effect on revenue.

The last NHL season saw the debut of the new Las Vegas-based franchise: the Vegas Golden Knights, and the franchise outperformed expectations, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

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