XFL Broadcasts Will Put Betting Front And Center With The Football

Posted on February 7, 2020

It’s uncertain whether the second attempt at a professional football league during the NFL offseason will take off. What’s more clear is that XFL betting lines will set a new standard.

ESPN and FOX will overlay odds on their broadcasts of the games. FOX also signed a sports betting deal with the league for its sports betting app. As with many other innovations, life may never be the same.

Why XFL betting lines could be a game-changer

In the same way that statistical overlays have added to the quality of live sports broadcasts, live odds might have a similar effect. More simply put, a broadcast without that element might feel incomplete in the future.

For those betting on the games, getting information on how your wagers are faring without having to take your eyes off the action is quite convenient. Additionally, seeing odds currently available may prompt some bettors who are on the fence to jump in.

It’s a classic case of once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it can’t be put back in. Fans may insist on their broadcasts delivering this information during all kinds of broadcasts.

Fortunately for football fans in Indiana, the state allows wagering on XFL games. It’s one of only six to do so thus far, but the rewards could be great.

The end of the college football and NFL seasons usually signal a great downturn in handle for legal sportsbooks. While the XFL may not achieve the same level of popularity right off the bat, it does give bettors who miss those leagues a chance to bet on some sort of football.

The odds aren’t the only way in which XFL broadcasts may create a new normal, however. The game’s commentary could play along nicely too.

FOX both a broadcast and a gambling partner with XFL

While ESPN and FOX won’t require analysts to talk about gambling during broadcasts, the people who call the games on both networks will be free to do so.

FOX is invested in sports betting with its FOX Bet sportsbook, so it is no surprise that the company announced Friday that it is now an official gambling partner of the XFL.

That creates an incentive for FOX to encourage its commentators to highlight gambling and the FOX Bet app within the broadcast. It’s also possible that viewers might see commercials for FOX Bet during XFL broadcasts as the sportsbook spreads into more markets.

While most of the major North American sports broadcasters still seem to discourage these conversations and choose not to air commercials for sportsbooks, there’s little actual financial incentive to continue that behavior. It’s a natural fit for both parties.

If the XFL embraces gambling to a larger extent by signing sponsorship deals with casinos and sportsbooks, that would help to normalize such partnerships. It would also help to dispell old paranoia about such relationships leading to match-fixing.

Ads for sportsbooks and conversations about gambling may become more commonplace in sports broadcasts on television in the years to come. If that happens, the XFL will have played an important role in that evolution.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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