NHL to net big from sports betting?

A Nielsen Sports study has detailed that the annual revenue of the National Hockey League (NHL), could be increased by $216m, as the sport nets the benefits of widely available, legal, regulated sports betting in the US.

The report, which was commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA) emphasised that heightened levels of fan engagement and viewership are set to bolster the NHL’s profitability when it comes to media rights, sponsorships, merchandise and ticket sales.

“Today’s announcement reaffirms that legal, regulated sports betting will create significant new revenue opportunities for sports leagues,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association. “Much like the NHL’s recent successful expansion into Las Vegas, legal sports betting will continue to expand across the country, bringing with it a $216m opportunity for the league.”

A further key source of revenue for the NHL will come as a result of spending by betting operators and data providers. The study outlines that gaming operators may spend $24m on advertising, which will directly increase the league’s rights fees by the same amount. An additional $35m in sponsorship revenue and $6m in data is also projected for the league and its teams. However, this could grow should the relationship between operators and the league flourish.

In conducting the study, Nielsen Sports surveyed more than 1,000 adult sports fans – including NHL fans – and self-identified sports bettors nationwide to model how a national, legal sports betting market would affect the sports consumption habits of non-bettors, casual bettors and avid bettors, and how this change in consumption would translate to increased revenue.

Last season was the debut NHL season of newly formed Las Vegas-based franchise: the Vegas Golden Knights. In its first outing, the side achieved an incredibly strong performance, only missing out on play-off victory in dramatic fashion.

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