As the National Football League (NFL) kicks off tonight, the league will rake in riches in a whole new way. Last year, the supreme court struck down a federal law from 1992, which banned sports betting in most states. It’s now fully legal in 13 states with more on the way. The NFL will look to take full advantage.
The American Gaming Association and Nielsen compiled a report that projects the NFL to earn $2.3 billion annually from legal sports betting. Some $573 million of that total would come from gaming-related revenue. This includes sponsorship, advertising, and product fees paid directly from sports bettors. The other $1.75 billion is projected to come from increased consumption and engagement with the league.
In fact, ESPN released a survey yesterday showing that 75% of bettors said they are more likely to watch a game they placed money on. The survey also revealed that 15% of all Americans plan to bet on NFL games this year. It’s clear that the NFL is ready to evolve from its anti-gambling position of yesteryear.
Ed Moed, CEO of HPL Digital Sport, told ESPN,
“When we did the survey, what became clear is the NFL has really built this perfect vehicle to engage current and new bettors, whether it be fantasy or online bettors.”
According to USA Today, the NFL made a total of $16 billion in revenue last year. Combine that with normal annual growth and the sports betting revenue, and the league could flirt $20 billion in revenue this season.
With all those riches in tow, many NFL players have been wondering when they’ll get a raise. Star players have been voicing their displeasure with teams and sitting out games in hopes of getting bigger contracts. Their unrest reached a climax when average NBA players started getting ridiculously large contracts.
The player behind one of the biggest recent contract disputes just got his way. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ended a 40-day holdout yesterday after coming to an agreement with the team. The Dallas Cowboys agreed to pay the young star $90 million over six years.
At $15 million per year, the deal makes him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. According to CBS Sports, Elliott’s contract was a rare win for the player over the team. With the NCAA facing the possibility of letting their players earn a living, it’s clear the American football players are ready to get paid. With the NFL capitalizing on the sports betting craze, they can surely afford it.