Study: NBA, MLB Could Reap $1.7 Billion from Legal Sports Betting

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The NBA and MLB could see an increase in revenue of about $1.7 billion due to legalized sports betting, according a study released this week by the American Gaming Association.

The NBA would see a $585 million increase and MLB could see an increase of $1.1 billion. It has been reported that the NHL could see a $216 million increase of revenue and the NFL could see a whopping $2.3 billion increase due to regulated sports betting.

The studies, conducted by Nielsen Sports and commissioned by the AGA, analyze revenue streams that legal sports betting could generate for professional sport leagues. That money would be a result of spending of by betting operators on advertising, data and sponsorship, and revenue from the increased consumption of the leagues’ media and products.

According to Nielsen Sports, increased fan engagement and viewership could help see a boost in the two leagues' annual revenue from media rights merchandise, sponsorships and ticket sales, producing $952m for MLB and nearly $425m for the NBA from a larger viewership of the leagues’ products.

“The four major sports leagues will earn a collective $4.2 billion from widely available legal sports betting, further proving that working together with the gaming industry will pay dividends for all sports stakeholders,” Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association said in a news release. “Legal sports betting will also create substantial opportunities for state and local economies, generating tax revenue, jobs and supporting small businesses across the country.”

Further breaking down the research released this week shows shows legal sports betting could help generate additional revenues of $160 million for the NBA and $154 for MLB due to spending by betting operators and data providers.

The study projects gaming operators may spend $64 million on MLB advertising and $57 million on the NBA – which could directly increase the leagues’ rights fees by the same amount. Sponsorship revenues from gaming operators could provide an additional $78 million for the NBA and $62 million for MLB.

The NBA and MLB also are projected to earn $25 million and $28 million from data rights, respectively.

To garner these results, Nielsen Sports surveyed more than 1,000 adult sports fans and self-identified sports bettors nationwide. The goal was to e model how a national, legal sports betting market would affect sports consumption habits of non, casual and avid bettors and how it would translate to more money in professional sports league coffers.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal law banning sports betting giving way to states to make its own call on sports gambling.

Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey, which brought the original suit to have the law struck down, plus Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada and West Virginia. Other states where legal sports betting could begin in the next few months include Pennsylvania, New York and Rhode Island. Nineteen other states have taken steps toward legalization.

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