- XFL TV broadcasts to feature betting lines, including point spreads and over/unders
- Broadcasters are permitted to reference betting lines
- NFL, other American professional sports don’t display betting information
Super Bowl 54 may be done and dusted, but that doesn’t mean football season is over. While we won’t see the NFL resume play until late in the summer, the XFL is set to relaunch this weekend. All 8 teams will be in action for the league’s rebirth, with 2 games on Saturday followed by 2 more games on Sunday.
Whether the XFL will be able to carve out a niche for itself in the ever-changing landscape of American sports remains to be seen. You surely remember the XFL’s inaugural season in 2001. Ratings were high for Vince McMahon’s revolutionary football product at first, but viewership fell precipitously as the season progressed. The original version of the league folded after just one season.
There’s quite a bit of money backing the XFL’s rebirth, however. McMahon is expected to spend around $500 million to make sure the XFL sticks around for the long haul this time around.
Sports Betting Focus
One aspect of the league that didn’t exist nearly 20 years ago that could help in 2020 is sports betting. Las Vegas sportsbooks offered betting lines on XFL games back in the day, but sports betting has exploded in popularity all over the US in the years since.
The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 2018 to allow states to decide on an individual basis whether to legalize and offer regulated sports betting has paved the way for the expansion of the industry in the US. The XFL is going to take advantage of sports betting’s newfound place at the center of the American mainstream during its television broadcasts.
FrontOfficeSports reported Wednesday that the XFL’s on-screen scoreboard will prominently feature the game’s betting line and over/under. The “bug” on screen will include that information on all Fox, ABC and ESPN telecasts of XFL games.
We don’t see this feature on the scoreboards for NFL or college football games, or for any other sport in the United States. Lee Fitting, ESPN’s senior vice president of production, told FrontOfficeSports, “The over/under and point spread will be incorporated in our on-screen dashboard for XFL games. When it’s appropriate, our announcers will also have conversations around the spread and over/under.”
6 different states have already given the green light to sportsbooks to offer betting lines on XFL games. Those states are New Jersey, Nevada, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Iowa.
NFL a Work-in-Progress
While the XFL appears primed to embrace sports betting, the NFL has been slower to come around. The league was staunchly opposed to the legalization of sports betting on a broad basis for years, but the league has started to relent since the aforementioned SCOTUS decision.
The NFL’s softening on their anti-gambling stance has never been more evident than it will be in 2020. In a couple of months, the NFL draft will take place right on the Las Vegas Strip. A few months later, the Las Vegas Raiders will officially begin play as the league’s first team to be based in Sin City.
The Raiders will join the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces as the only major league professional sports franchises to be based in town.
Once the NFL does follow leagues like the NBA and Major League Baseball in embracing sports betting, it stands to add another lucrative new revenue stream. The NFL, which is already the most-profitable pro sports league in America, stands to earn billions of extra dollars if and when partnerships with sports betting entities come to fruition.