February 3, 2021 Sports Betting, Marketing

Study: Gaming industry has invested $396m in US sports league sponsorships

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Pandemic-related budget deficits have spurred growth of sports betting.

In just 30 months since the overturning of PASPA, the US gaming industry has made sponsorship investments of $396.6m in the five major sports leagues.

That was the message Wednesday from analytics company GlobalData, which predicted sports betting will be legal in half of US states by the end of this year.

According to Liam Fox, sport analyst at GlobalData, the growth of sports betting in the US has “far exceeded” initial expectations for the market.

Two of the most significant developments have been a “massive windfall” in taxes for state governments and “huge” sponsorship investments for sports leagues.

Per data from the GlobalData Sport Intelligence Center, 36.5% of the $396.6m betting brands have committed to sponsorship agreements has gone to the NFL. In a distant second is the NBA at 24.4%, then MLB at 23%. The NHL lags with 13%, and MLS is seeing just 2.7% of sponsorship funds.

GlobalData’s Fox noted major US sports leagues initially opposed the expansion of sports betting on the theory it could compromise integrity and encourage match-fixing. However, they have “progressively softened their stance toward the betting industry after realizing the potential financial benefits for themselves and their franchises.”

The pandemic did much to facilitate this change, Fox pointed out, as the sports leagues suffered multi-million-dollar losses in gate receipts, leading to a loosening of restrictions, with betting sponsorships identified as a “mechanism to generate crucial commercial income.”

That said, it must be noted that sports betting sponsorships and partnerships were still booming before COVID-19.

Lawmakers in many states previously held “strong anti-gambling sentiments” but, now they are attempting to balance huge budget deficits as a result of the devastating economic implications of COVID-19, Fox wrote: “Many states have become more receptive toward expanding their sports betting offerings in a bid to collect more taxes from the lucrative revenue stream."

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