Rising Online Sports Gambling: What's The Real TV Viewing Impact?

The NFL, the fourth quarter, and the Super Bowl continue to be the major focal points for online sports betting.

But where will new growth come from -- and what's the real viewing connection?

Heading into this year's big game, American Gaming Association expected a record 68 million American adults -- 26% of the adult population -- to bet on Super Bowl LVIII. MoffettNathanson Research says that would be a 35% increase vs. a year ago.

About half of these 70 million come from online betting sites, and 15% from retail/physical sportsbooks locations.

The biggest online betting share continues to be FanDuel -- at 41% -- as of the fourth quarter of 2023.



But it has lost some ground year-over-year, when it had 47% share in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to a note from Robert Fishman of MoffettNathanson.

DraftKings was the main reason -- moving up to a 37% share from 29% a year ago.

The two other major players -- BetMGM and Penn (now ESPNBet) -- are nearly at the same level, with a 7% and 5% share, respectively.

ESPNBet has made gains since launching in November 2023. A year ago, BetMGM was at 11% share, while Penn was at 2%.

But analysts believe there will be more structural growth overall as more states make sports gambling legal and begin to allow operations to commence.

While NFL and fourth quarter are of major interest to gamblers -- especially when it comes to smaller, regular-season supply of games versus other sports -- one marketing question would be what happens in the future to online sports operations in those non-NFL periods, starting in the second half of the first quarter (right after the Super Bowl) through the third quarter?

Major events such as NCAA March Madness (March), NBA and NHL playoffs (late May/June), and Major League Baseball (October) are other strong betting periods.

Sports TV franchise owners -- as well as the leagues themselves -- wonder whether all this will mean more TV advertising dollars from these marketers.

But perhaps more importantly, will there be any significant viewing hikes, especially in somewhat less glamorous regular-season games.

The NFL continues to be the benchmark for this metric. Analysts talk up the continued rise of NFL viewing -- up 10% in the regular season from a year ago to an average 16 million viewers. 

How much does online betting factor into these results?

A CRG Global 2022 study found that two-thirds of those who bet on NFL games say they watch more than usual when gambling.

Near term, what can NFL wannabe sports leagues expect when it comes to sports wagering associated viewing? I’ll take the ‘over’.

Next story loading loading..