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    NEW REPORT: Top Media Expert Calls for Legalized Sports Betting to Boost TV Ratings

    Press Release
    February 9, 2017

    Washington, DC – Following reports that a record $138 million was legally wagered on Super Bowl 51 – and an estimated $4.5 billion was bet illegally – MoffettNathanson Research has released a new report detailing how the NFL could boost its ratings and advertising revenue if Congress were to lift the ban on sports betting.

    The report, NFL Season Recap – It’s All Over But the Crying, was released by Michael Nathanson, a leading U.S. media analyst at MoffettNathanson, and echoes recently released research by the American Gaming Association (AGA) that shows NFL fans who wager on a game are more likely to watch those games.

    Key takeaways from the report include:

    • “One potential change in the direction of viewership and ad dollars would be an evolution in the NFL’s view of legalized national sports gambling.”
    • “Up to this point, the NFL has been reluctant to embrace [NBA Commissioner Adam] Silver’s point of view. Perhaps that would change if broader business decisions—and the health of the NFL’s TV partners—were taken more into account.”
    • NFL Network and ESPN are more likely to be viewed by sports bettors than the average viewer.
    • If sports betting were legalized, roughly 10% of non-bettors would be likely to bet on sports, which would raise the overall time spent by viewers watching NFL games.
    • “On a network by network business, the NFL Network and ESPN were more likely to be viewed by sports bettors versus the average viewer. These trends would be further inflated if gambling were to be legalized, according to Nielsen research. If gambling were allowed, a majority of NFL Network viewers would be sports bettors, followed closely by 47% on ESPN. The broadcast networks would all be closer to the 40% range.”
    • “In 2015, Nielsen estimated that the NFL took in only $40 million, excluding the $125 million from Daily Fantasy Sports, in advertising and sponsorship from traditional gaming institutions. The league’s monetization of national (non-daily fantasy) gambling advertising is purposely low and held back by limitations on national sports betting. However, it is clear that they have a built-in market that casinos and legalized sports books target.”

    “This report from the leading media analyst on Wall Street shows TV partners why legalizing sports betting would boost viewership and grow advertising revenue,” said Sara Slane, AGA senior vice president of public affairs. “We invite broadcasters and advertisers to join our growing coalition to advocate for Congress to lift the failing federal ban on sports betting.”

    A Nielsen Sports study released by the AGA last year found that those who bet on the NFL watched 19 more games in the 2015 regular season than adults who didn’t bet at all – more than an entire season’s worth – and generated more than double the ratings across the major broadcast and cable networks compared to average American adults.

    In addition, if sports betting were legalized, the number of NFL 2015 regular season viewers who bet on sports would jump from 40 million to 57 million. Bettors would consist of 36 percent of the total NFL audience and consume 56 percent of all minutes viewed of NFL regular season games.

    Due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), traditional sports betting is permitted only in Nevada. 

    About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.

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