Market Overview

No Longer Taboo: Jeanie Buss, John Skipper And More Talk Sports Betting

No Longer Taboo: Jeanie Buss, John Skipper And More Talk Sports Betting

The reversal of PAPSA, the federal government’s ban on sports betting, is arguably the biggest catalyst for growth in professional sports today, and it's no longer taboo for team owners to talk about the excitement that comes with legalized gambling.

Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss said last week at CAA's World Congress of Sports that sports gambling is the biggest story of the year.

“Sports wagering and sports gambling will have a big effect on fan participation and interaction. What's important is to protect the integrity of the game, and to protect the players since the fans will be more invested in the game game and protect the officials,” Buss said at the conference.

Engagement And Interest

It's likely the greatest benefits for the teams and media networks is that with increased gambling comes with greater fan engagement, new interest and greater viewing times.

“The money is going to be secondary, the primary money is coming from the engagement that comes with gambling. It will be about people watching the Lakers longer and deeper,” said DAZN Executive Chairman John Skipper. Skipper worked for ESPN for 20 years, six of which he served as president.

Justin Connolly, Executive Vice President at Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) and ESPN, argued ESPN shaking its legacy media status and is already creating content aimed at gamblers with plans for greater expansion of its betting related programming.

“We have more content directed at the sports gambling audience than ever before and we will do more in the near-future. If you want to reach the sports gambling public, I believe we have the best platform to do that,” said Connolly.

Expanding The Market

Maryann Turcke, the chief operating officer of the NFL, says gambling is an important topic to talk about.

“The one area we are most focused on is in the context of gambling because the keeping the integrity of the game is of paramount importance,” she said. “We believe gambling will be the next thing in engagement. In New Jersey there is a lot of in-venue opportunities and sports betting is done at around a $10 level on average. Its a fun way to engage."

Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula added to this notion: “Sports betting is certainly a conversation that we’re having and how does that change the [in-game] experience?”

“If you are a Vikings fan, you don’t necessarily watch a Bills game. Why would you, right?" said Pegula. "But with fantasy, and then now with sports betting, now we’re going to get eyeballs on our game, and our fans, and that’s going to actually really expand our market.”

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