Sports betting could earn $4.2 billion a year for US Leagues

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Legal sports betting has the potential to produce an additional $4.2 billion every year for America’s professional sports leagues, according to a new study.

The analysis, which was carried out by Nielsen Sports found that $2.3 billion of the total amount would fall to the NFL, followed by $1.1 billion for the MLB, $585 million to the NBA and $216 million going to the NHL, with the money coming from a number of sources.

Nielsen conducted a survey of 1,000 adult sports fans in putting together the report, and estimated that of the $4.2 billion, around $3.3 billion would be produced as a result of increased fan involvement, which includes sponsorships, merchandise sales, ticket sales and, most significantly, the sale of media rights, all of which would be the result of increased consumer interest caused by legalized betting on the country’s four main professional leagues.

Integrity fees

The study was commissioned by the American Gambling Association, and produced figures that are similar to those predicted in June, by research company Gambling Compliance, which said that the legal sports betting industry could be worth between $3.1 billion and $5.2 billion over five years.

However, the study by Nielsen sports did not address one of the main bones of contention between the professional leagues and the gambling industry; the so-called ‘integrity fees’, which the leagues have proposed should be paid by gambling companies as part of the sports betting system.

Many gambling industry insiders have been angered by the integrity fee issue, arguing that the professional sports leagues, which for years had been opposed to sports betting, were now attempting to cash in on a development which they had done nothing to bring about.

In addition, the report admits that the revenue boost to the leagues will not occur in the short term for a variety of reasons. In the case of improved media payments, all of the leagues will have to wait for their current deals to expire before benefitting from any increase in the price of broadcasting rights, and for the MLB, that won’t happen until 2020, while the NBA’s current deal runs to 2025.

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