There’s been a proliferation of legalized sports gambling across our great landscape the last few years. It’s almost as though it’s been glorified. To this point, concerns that it could take down sports or have a terribly pernicious effect on the young aren’t evident.
Top voices like Al Michaels who hints playfully about the spread or Brent Musburger, officially represented in Vegas, are still thriving. Each has a clean record and Al does nothing on-air to openly promote any sort of betting. But assiduous viewers can glean that Uncle Al might have a buck or two on a game. He’s one of many millions.
Just after the war, basketball players for the New York colleges engaged in point shaving and killed the sport. NYU and City College fell hard and eventually went to Division III. St. John’s maintained its national strength, except recently.
Now, when amateurs are permitted to sell personal endorsements and more, there’s less a threat that they’ll acquiesce to the underworld and thugs.
Some comments about sports gambling and how it’s evolved:
Betting Boom: Why Broadcasters Should Take Note of the Rise of Sports Betting
- More Eyes on the Product: With the NFL averaging 17.1 million viewers per game during the 2021 regular season and NBA viewership up 3% this season, more fans are engaging with sports. Combining this with the partnerships professional leagues are establishing with sportsbooks means more exposure for the betting scene. Broadcasters have a unique opportunity to capitalize on increased viewership from bettors, especially in pivotal games.
- A Lucrative Industry: Legalized sports betting boomed in 2021, with $52.7 billion being wagered over the course of the calendar year on sports alone. Yes, that’s B like billion. Broadcasters likely recognize and project that the financial implications of betting. More eyeballs to game broadcasts, from start to finish.
- Betting Makes Bucks: The National Council on Problem Gambling reported that during an 18-month period that ended in September 2021, there was an increase of 15.3 million sports betters. More betters mean more viewers tuning into the games where they placed these bets. Catering to these audiences can create long-term relationships between a particular broadcast crew and their new betting audience.
- Eyes on the Prize: A Seton Hall Sports Poll reported that Americans are 70% more likely to watch a sporting event on which they placed a bet, meaning there is a direct correlation between viewership and betting. By catering to this audience directly, this statistic could reach even newer heights in the years to come. It’s why current NFL contracts are double in dollar commitment than the previous one.
- No More Taboo: There haven’t been controversies like the ones that imprisoned NBA official Tim Donaghy who officiated NBA games based on bets he placed or Pete Rose’s baseball gambling escapades. The two put sports betting in a negative light, but as time passed and laws enacted, the taboo has slowly diminished. Broadcasters can now discuss sports betting more freely without fear of consequences, offering more chances to reach new audiences.
- Integration in Other Broadcast Elements: Sportsbooks have already immersed themselves in the live sports experience through partnerships with teams, networks and leagues. Even airing commercials has become a major revenue source. Ad-reads for sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel, are integrated seamlessly into discussion between a play-by-play and color commentator. At this point, capitalizing on sports betting has turned in a win-win for all. Years ago, when the state lotteries began, many schools wouldn’t accept them as sponsors. That eventually changed and now, such partnerships with commercial partners is growing exponentially.
- Betting’s Impact on Social Media: In order to meet the changing needs of live sports audiences, broadcasters have looked to integrate social media into its broadcasts to reach a two-screen viewing fanbase. Betting has already capitalized on social media and alternatively, the media, through influencers, are offering betting advice and making these bets publicly. Broadcasts can play into the social media aspect of betting by offering fans a key into some takes from their personalities about which bets to take, offering a new perspective.
- Need to Evolve: Broadcasters have constantly evolved their art to meet the demands of the modern audience. Whether it be offering unique information to match the technological advances of the score bug, adding more personality on the headset, betting gives broadcasters another way to evolve to meet the increasing demands and number of fans with financial investments in the sports they watch.
From – D. Halberstam – Publisher:
It took John Forslund, left, a while. He’s now 60. Hockey fans throughout America are recognizing his excellence as and NHL play-by-player. His visibility on NBC as a backup voice in recent years was impressive.
When the rights moved on, they were split between ESPN and Turner. For whatever reason, Forslund got a minimum number of assignments from Turner. ESPN was brimming with its own talent and was determined to essentially stick in its lane. So John did the Eastern Conference Finals on radio, the Lightning win over the Rangers.
John recently told a podcaster that he himself advises younger broadcasters to keep one style through their careers, not to be homers and that on radio, voices should do game-resets often, time remaining and the score with little limit.
Find descriptive terms that you identify with your own style. Hockey on radio is a professional challenge, Forslund said.