With the NFL’s current television contracts set to expire in 2022, the league is close to opening new negotiations with networks and online streaming services for future broadcast rights.
After a couple of years of slight declines in viewership numbers, the NFL rebounded by posting a healthy 2018 that averaged over 15.8 million viewers per game for the season.
If you think that the NFL is losing its appeal in the United States due to its political entanglements over the past couple of seasons, realize that 64 of the top 100 watched shows in America last year were NFL games.
So with the league’s rabid fanbase continuing to consume everything NFL, the table is set for the league to cash in with the next round of television deals.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen it in presenting the NFL right now,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Yahoo Finance. “All television has had diminished viewership; the NFL has disproportionately not had that kind of drop off.”
“Our television is actually stronger than it has ever been,” Jones said. “That will serve us well when we are renegotiating our agreements with all the networks.”
But there’s another element that NFL owners, like Jones, feel will make the deals even more significant in 2022 and that is the rise of sports betting in America.
“Betting and wagering have been an integral part of the NFL for a long time through individuals, in various forms, making their wagers, my town against your town,” says Jones.
“But it’s always to the benefit of the viewership. The viewership is where our numbers will increase. People will stay longer. That value is how our sport will benefit from gaming.”
“I dare say that gaming will increase the value of television, of presenting our games, I dare say it will go up 50% because of the gaming concentration,” Jones concluded.
For Jones, early returns from states like New Jersey, who have seen their handles eclipse Nevada’s for highest monthly totals in the United States, have him believing that the league will dramatically see an increase in TV revenue.
The argument is simple: The more you wager as a fan, the more inclined you will be to watch the games you’ve wagered on.
In November of 2018, a Seton Hall University Sports Poll found that 70% of surveyed Americans said they would be more likely to view a sporting event if they had placed a wager on it.
When the NFL sees figures like that, it is no coincidence that we’ve seen the league turn 180-degrees in their outlook on legalized gambling over the past couple of years.
Alongside the four major networks, the NFL is also expected that streaming services such as Amazon and Facebook could drive the final figures higher as the competition increases for the league’s broadcast rights.
We won’t have to wait long to find out if Jones is right because the NFL released the figures from the last round of television agreements two years before the current contracts at the time expired.
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