Nielsen Report: NFL Could Make $2.3 Billion a Year from Gambling Market

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2018

Game balls rest on the field before an NFL football preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. Buffalo won 19-17. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

Legalized sports betting stands to become a highly lucrative endeavor, and perhaps no entity will benefit more from its implementation than the NFL.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, Nielsen published a report commissioned by the American Gaming Association that estimated the NFL could earn $2.3 billion annually off a "fully mature U.S. sports gambling market."

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which means individual states now have the right to implement and regulate sports betting.

Per Rovell, the $2.3 billion figure is based on a survey of football fans and projected growth in several key areas.

It is expected that gambling will increase media rights fees by 18 percent, sponsorship by 7 percent and ticket sales by 6 percent.

The projection of $2.3 billion does not include integrity fees, which would see the NFL earn a cut of the money bet on its games.

According to Rovell, AGA Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane doesn't believe the integrity fee model is one the NFL should pursue: "So much time has been spent on talk over integrity fees. We think these numbers are conservative and show that the league is frankly tripping over dollars to pick up pennies."

In July, Rovell reported the NFL made more than $8 billion in national revenue in 2017, a 4.9 percent increase from 2016.

Of course, legalized sports betting is still in its infancy, as only Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Mississippi have joined Nevada in introducing it.