AGA Study Shows Sports Betting Could Make It Rain For Major Leagues

Posted on October 19, 2018 - Last Updated on October 29, 2018

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A new study commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA) shows Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) could see a combined $1.7 billion from legal sports betting.

The Nielsen Sports Study analyzes several different revenue streams including data rights, sponsorships and advertising dollars that legal sports betting could generate for both professional leagues.

Sara Slane, senior vice president of public relations for the AGA said, collectively all four major sports leagues will earn upwards of $4.2 billion from legalized sports betting.

“Legal sports betting will also create substantial opportunities for state and local economies, generating tax revenue, jobs and supporting small businesses across the country.”

Benefits for professional sports

Results found that MLB could see $1.1 billion in increased revenue while the NBA stands to gain $585 million.

According to the study, $952 million for MLB and $452 million for the NBA will come by way of increased fan engagement and viewership boosting the two leagues total annual revenue.

Revenue expectations

A breakdown of the new Nielsen Sports study shows the following:

  • $64 million on MLB advertising by betting operators
  • $57 million on NBA advertising by betting operators
  • $62 million for MLB from sponsorship revenues
  • $78 million for NBA from sponsorship revenues
  • $28 million for MLB earned from data rights
  • $25 million for NBA earned from data rights

Past findings on sports betting and fandom

In September, Nielsen Sports determined the National Football League (NFL) could see an annual revenue increase of $2.3 billion from legal sports betting.

Analyzing the same streams of revenue, results showed fan engagement and increased viewership could contribute to a 13.4 percent boost in revenue.

Additionally, the National Hockey League (NHL) stands to generate $216 million annually from sports betting.

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Big picture for regulated US sports betting

Following the May 14 ruling by the US Supreme Court which found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to be unconstitutional, several states quickly moved to legalize sports betting.

So far, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, and West Virginia, have sportsbooks up and running in their respective states.

Earlier this week, New Mexico became the sixth state with legal sports betting. The Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana launched a sportsbook at their Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel outside Albuquerque.

Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are expected to go live later this year. New York is currently developing sports betting regulations for its four commercial casinos.

Other states looking to pass sports betting bill’s next year include:

All of which, could bolster annual revenue for all major sports leagues substantially.

“Working together with the gaming industry will pay dividends for all sports stakeholders,” Slane said.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago, writing about local politics, and in Washington, D.C., covering the expanding gambling industry. Now back in Chicago, he continues to write about the emerging sports betting market with a focus on the Midwest. Originally from West Texas, he graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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