NCAA Surprisingly Planning College Sports Betting Revenue Strategy
NCAA President Charlie Baker recently spoke at an event dubbed “The Future of College Sports” at the University of Arizona. At the event, Baker discussed future plans to increase revenue streams for the NCAA. One such strategy includes monetizing college sports betting relationships. This strategy aims to close the revenue gap between college football and other NCAA sports.
College Sports Wagering The Future Of NCAA
Baker explained that the growing popularity of mobile sports betting apps grants a major opportunity for the NCAA. This statement shocked the attending crowd, according to the Forbes report. The NCAA has been historically opposed to sports betting in the past, including some colleges terminating sportsbook relationships.
“That’s a major opportunity, right in front of us,” said Baker. “We have a major opportunity to get into the sports betting space … anybody who has a phone (being) able to bet from any place they want and two-thirds to almost three-quarters of all people between the ages of 18 and 22 betting on sports.”
A closer look at the NCAA’s figures explains their thinking. College basketball earns the NCAA less than $1 billion annually. This revenue comes from March Madness media rights. In contrast, college football playoffs earn $1 billion for the D1 FBS teams alone. The gap between college football and the rest of the NCAA is massive.
Looking at college basketball, however, shows an opportunity for growth. March Madness betting is one of the most wagered-on sporting events in the U.S. every year. In 2023, approximately 68 million fans wagered on the tournament.
The idea is that if the NCAA monetized its relationships with sports betting operators, the gap between basketball and football revenue would close. The NCAA currently works with bookmakers to provide league data for sports betting odds.
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Concerns Over Underage Betting
A major concern that has arisen in 2023 is the increase in college sports betting affecting young adults under the age of 21. Several partnerships have been terminated between universities and sportsbooks as a result of this. More strict guidelines have been set by the American Gaming Association (AGA) as a response. Baker also addressed the NCAA’s role in managing this issue.
“The truth is, if there are lots of kids on campus betting on college sports and betting on the teams on their campus, this puts student-athletes in a very difficult position. … (The NCAA needs to) create a program that we hope we’re going to get everybody to endorse around helping them develop the tools and techniques (athletes are) going to need to deal with this stuff.”NCAA President Charlie Baker
Baker maintains that the goal is simply to push forward other sports that have underperformed. Through the use of sports betting, Baker plans to bring all collegiate programs up to par with revenue.
“We dramatically underperform across a whole bunch of other revenue raising opportunities. … And those items are going to get a lot of attention from us over the course of what I would describe as the next four to six months,” said Baker.