The repeal of the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018 opened the doors for states to legalize sports betting. It also opened the doors for mainstream sports media to embrace sports betting more than ever.
Websites and podcasts were the first to act since those are the forms of media that are quickest to respond. Older, traditional forms of media, like television and radio, are still working toward getting off the ground.
While “Lock It In” debuted nationally on Fox Sports 1 last year, we’ve yet to see a major influx of TV shows dedicated to sports betting, though that should change this year.
The next step for televised sports betting could begin on the local level.
Next step for sports betting in the media
NBC Sports Washington is taking sports betting on television to another level. Instead of another show providing analysis, the regional sports network will debut a unique prototype of what TV could look like when sports betting is fully integrated.
On Jan. 11, NBC Sports Washington will air a second feed of the Washington Wizards game versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The traditional broadcast will be shown on the main station while an interactive broadcast will air on NBC Sports Washington Plus.
The game broadcast will be the same. The screen will feature wraparounds similar to what you’d see on ESPN News, any game on YouTube TV and new digital cable boxes.
Those major difference from the regular broadcast of this basketball game will be interactive and feature sports betting information. The screen will show odds, point spreads and wagering options surrounding game action.
Even though NBA League Pass is available nationally, most of the audience for this game will be in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland where sports betting isn’t legal yet. The gambling interface for the game will be a sweepstakes-style game.
‘Predict the Game’
According to Sports Business Daily, the gambling will be more of a question-and-answer activity called “Predict the Game.”
Viewers will be able to answer questions like: “How many points a specific player will score in a quarter?” or “How many assists will a player have in a half?” for a chance to win $500.
While this will be a free game, it could also be the future of sports betting during live games.
NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports (Wizards’ ownership group) both see this as a way to appeal to new, mainstream sports bettors. This new television broadcast could be used as a model to incorporate sports betting more deeply into game broadcasts.
The idea of rewarding customers by predicting outcomes in sporting events isn’t necessarily a new concept. However, this will be the first time it will be integrated on TV with a live game.
Sports betting continues to take small steps toward mainstream distribution and acceptance, and this is just another step forward for legal sports betting in the US.