On Monday morning, ESPN‘s NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that the NFL had reached agreements with FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBet to make them Approved Sportsbook Operators in advance of the 2021 NFL season. The new season kicks off on September 9 with the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys.
Sign of the times: NFL has reached agreements with FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET to become Approved Sportsbook Operators for the 2021 NFL season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2021
In April 2021, the NFL announced its first US sportsbook partnerships with Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel; now, they have seven official partners. The NFL and its teams had expected to generate about $270 million in revenue this year from sports betting deals before this announcement. Still, the introduction of new official partners could help revenue potential grow quickly.
Rights of NFL’s Partners
There are now seven sportsbooks that have been approved by the NFL, each of whom gets exclusive rights from their respective partnerships. The sportsbooks can purchase in-game commercial units and other media inventory; the NFL permits Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN to sell up to six commercial spots during game broadcasts o sports betting partners. In addition, these sportsbooks get the exclusive right to use NFL marks in advertising. All operators will license Official League Data from the NFL’s official provider, Genius Sports. All operators have agreed to adhere to the NFL’s core integrity policies which help support its responsible gaming efforts.
Previous NFL Opposition
Until recently, the NFL was adamantly against the prospect of legalized sports betting in the United States. In 2015, commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated this point. “We’ve been very open about our position that we oppose legalized sports gambling,” Goodell said. “We haven’t changed our position on that. I don’t anticipate us changing that going forward at all.” In 2015, the NFL forced the cancellation of a planned appearance by then-Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and other players at a Las Vegas fantasy football convention due to their potential connection with the casinos.
Before the US Supreme Court decision to overturn a federal ban on sports betting, an estimated $75-125 billion was being gambled illegally, primarily online to offshore books. Now, the NFL has completely shifted its stance. Trey Wingo described this in an interview with the Washington Post recently. “It’s like turning the ship 180 degrees from where the NFL was, but they’ve embraced it and it’s absolutely the right move,” Wingo said. “At the end of the day, money is money, and the NFL is really good at making money.”
About the Sportsbooks
FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBet will all bring different things to the table in partnership with the NFL, making them each a unique platform for the biggest sports league in the country. FOX Bet is affiliated with the Fox Network while PointsBet is affiliated with NBC. Both of those networks have media rights deals with the NFL and regularly show NFL games. Meanwhile, BetMGM is owned by MGM Resorts International and WynnBet is owned by Wynn Las Vegas. Both are renowned gaming and hospitality brands and will offer the NFL a new avenue to connect with fans.