Sports Betting: Are the Odds Really in Your Favor?

On this Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast join us as we step into the world of sports with Taylor’s COO and Managing Partner, avid sports fan, Bryan Harris as he leads the discussion of the controversial world of sports betting with Taylor’s Account Director, Ronald Greene. Join them as they unpack the impact it has on fans, the entertainment industry, and the world. Stay tuned for part 2 of this special Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast.

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Narrator (00:00): Hey you, welcome to Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast, where we discuss and dissect the integrated worlds of marketing, innovation, pop culture, sports, and all of the possibilities in between.

We’re creating a unique space - for purpose, insightful debate, and growth. Join us.

Bryan Harris (00:26): In this special two-part podcast. We're going to discuss a couple of subjects that are really disrupting the sports landscape. The first is legalized sports betting and how it's fueling new ways for consumers to engage with sports and new ways for marketers to engage with sports properties and their fans. And in part two we're going to talk about name image likeness, which is opening up a whole new world of opportunities for college athletes and brands.

Bryan Harris (00:52): Ronald, I can't think of a better time for us to get together and have a conversation about some of the most pressing issues in sports because in my opinion, this is the best time of year in sports. You got the NFL season in full gear, the World Series, you got the NBA and NHL Season, soccer on every continent is going great. You got the MLS playoffs coming up we're in the final weeks of the NASCAR season. I mean it's just a great time of year and I wish we could spend the entire day just talking about sports, but we both have our day jobs so we have to keep it nice, tight and focused. So we'll talk about a couple things that are on a lot of people's minds from fans to executives to athletes. So how about if we play it by those ground rules?

Ronald Greene (01:41): I think that is right and works and you're spot on. This is the most wonderful time of the year for a sports fan for sure.

Bryan Harris (01:46): It is. So sports betting actually has been something that's just been brewing for decades and decades. It's been more in vogue and more accessible in other continents than in the US where it's largely been legalized, but it's largely been confined to the state of Nevada. But because of the Supreme Court ruling a few years ago, legalized sports betting is now a thing, if you will, in I believe 33 states and counties and even some of the bigger states like New York and California and Texas, it's not all the way there. New York it's getting close, but California and Texas I think have a ways to go, but eventually I'm sure we will see it come to fruition there as well. A big question around sports betting is what does this mean for the fan experience? What does it mean for marketers? What does it mean for the team?

(02:37): There was an interesting article in Sportico last week by a consultant who's very active in the business and you made a really good point about how one of the things sports, one of the advantages for sports betting with teams, it just generates new sponsorship partnership opportunities, can potentially or actually increase fan engagement, and ultimately deliver greater revenue opportunities. But the point he was making was that right now, despite the growth of sports betting, you're still looking at about 45% of professional sports teams in North America are in states where sports betting is not legalized. So there's this sort of competitive advantage is developing in sports and that's something we have to look at is what does this really mean for on the business side and ultimately is are we going to see an uneven playing field if there are an appreciable number of teams that are in states where it's not legalized?

Ronald Greene (03:37): And that's super interesting because to that point in states like New York where teams aren't able to really thrive or take advantage of those opportunities, you you've got other teams in maybe DC now and Arizona while you're not able to while the spark this marketing dollars that they sponsorship dollars that they would generate obviously don't contribute to the team's success on the field or on the pitch or on the court, but it does allow you to have that elevated potentially fan experience. Maybe it's building a sports book within the arena itself. And I think they did that down in DC with the Capital One center among others. And that's something that can be available 365 days a year versus just available on game days. So it allows for the venue to accrue additional dollars quite frankly by way of having something or being a vehicle for sports betting fans to come in and buy beer, bet on sports, food, watch games and allow for those doors to be open for the full calendar.

(04:40): So it's super interesting and it's not, it's more of a when as to when these other states will probably come around because there's a lot of tax revenue that these states will be able to generate from sports betting. So it's super interesting, it's super intriguing and as someone that enjoys the space, it allows me to pay attention to teams and games that I typically wouldn't pay any attention to. If you have a vested interest or specific to this conversation, if you have a financial in the outcome of the game or how a player is performing or what have you, that's more eyeballs that are going to be on that specific game that allows for these teams or these broadcast stations to probably ask for more sponsorship dollars from their partners because there is an uptick in viewership. So it is something that really benefits all people involved except maybe the ones that are betting and losing on some of these games. Of

Bryan Harris (05:38): Of course, of course you got a level of playing field somehow. Now you said you enjoy the experience, so are you a betting man yourself?

Ronald Greene (05:44): No, I pretend to be, hard to do so in New York, but I do kind of keep a close eye on where lines are trending, what particular over under might be. It just kind of makes it a little bit more interesting. I don't like to lose a lot, which is probably why nobody does, but I would fancy myself as in sports better if I'm in the states where it is legal and near us. That's New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Bryan Harris (06:12): Yeah, well full disclosure, I'm not really a betting man myself, although I do run through sort of prop bets through my head all the time, but I'm not opposed to it. I certainly see the benefits when regulated. I certainly see the harm it can cause when not regulated, but when regulated I see the benefits from top to bottom, from the leagues to the teams, to the fans, to the corporate partners. There's a lot that can be gained in terms of enhancing the fan experience and the fan engagement and the technology is becoming so incredibly sophisticated. You see it with some companies like Genius Sports and Sports Radar and whatnot whose valuations have skyrocketed because they provide the algorithms, if you will, that can help make all of this possible. But it's interesting to see how this is all developed from when Daily Fantasy became a big thing with of course DraftKings and FanDuel being the leaders.

(07:12): And for that reason they were ready to be first to market when sports betting became illegalized because they really, sports fantasy, you can draw the parallels to sports betting. Some people might say it's not, but there were attorneys general in many, many states a few years back who begged to differ and then it became kind of an ugly thing, if you will, until I think everybody had agreed how to play nicely in the sandbox. It was sort of a natural progression from sports fantasy to the real thing if you will. Sports betting and the fan duels and drafting were just, they were ready and prepared. They had the fan, the consumer base, and they just understood the business. They had the technology and the marketing know-how and savvy and muscle of course everything that goes with it. But there's so many players to the game now beyond the FanDuel and DraftKings, the traditional gaming giants like MGM and Caesars and the gaming giants from the UK like Glad Brooks and William Hill and the media companies of course like Fox and CBS b s and ESPN. And at some point, and we've seen some consolidation, but at some point it's going to be consolidated down to just a select few. I mean I think there's only so many platforms that can go around

Ronald Greene (08:30): That. That's a good question and I kind of go back and forth on this because on one hand I think that there's a space for everyone to play in. I don't imagine there are very many people that are tied to specifically Jack Kings or specifically Pan. They're going to go to the places that are going give them the best odds and provide a really good, and I know quite a few people that will place the same bets across DraftKings, across FanDuel, across bar stool, what have you, just because they like the odds. So on one hand I think that there is enough room for everybody to play in for now, especially as we continue to expand, like you said, there's just 33 states plus DC who have really approved sports betting across the country thus far. So just looking at it from a US standpoint there, there's still 17 to go, but ultimately as we see across business, a lot of times that'll probably start to pair itself back and people will look to probably consolidate all of their info and just start to form larger conglomerates, if you will, for sports betting.

(09:37): And that way I don't have to go or gamble once sports are better X doesn't have to go to one, two, and three different places to find the best odds. These guys will come together and that's ultimately Luke Woods. But it's certainly really interesting and quite frankly a confusing space to be in right now if you're not overly but it, it's one to get caught up on pretty quickly because it's going to start to dominate the way that we watch Sports ESPN who's historically had a stance of not looking to kind of mix sports and sports betting and now they have a show for a couple of years now called the Daily Wage where they talk about the sports betting and once they start to great they've already started accepting dollars from a lot of these sports books and once they start to integrate within the broadcast it it's going to be synonymous with the game itself and it's going to change the way that we view sports as a whole. And for many of us it already has. So it's certainly ripe for opportunity for a couple of these leaders in the marketplace to maybe someday go down the combine and work together. But at this point in time, I think they're all doing just fine on their own.

Bryan Harris (10:41): Yeah. Now you look at how a lot of this came about. The Supreme Court ruling and state legislation obviously was a huge driver of it, but it also has taken some acceptance, if that's the right term from the major sports leagues, that gambling actually is a thing and that people enjoy it and it helps build engagement with the sports. Adam Silver, NBA commissioner was really the first major league commissioner to come out and say, Hey, we know this is a big part of the game. It should exist, it should be regulated, let's get on with it. And whether you want to call him prescient or he just was the first one out of the gate as the NBA often is when it comes to a lot of issues being social issues or business issues. I think the NBA more than any of the major sports leagues under David Stern, commissionership really helped revolutionize sports sponsorship in North America.

(11:41): I give him a ton of credit. I give Peter Ubar who was the head of the LA Olympic games in 84 too, he just kind of rewrote the book on how to build corporate partnerships around events like the Olympic games. So it's going back ways away to the eighties, if you will, but it's brought us to where we are today. It took the N F L, the sport that drives the most gaming activity and has for a very long time, legal or illegal if you will, I think the longest time to come out and kind of figure out how to accept it and embrace it and ultimately bring corporate partners into the fold. But let's face it, there's the NCAA men's basketball tournament and there's NFL Sundays and Mondays and Thursdays and occasionally Saturdays that really drive the most activity when it comes to fantasy sports and sports betting.

(12:35): That's one thing that we had to get out of the way. In addition to legislation, we had to have this acceptance by the major sports leagues because when that happens then your corporate partners to some extent your existing partners, but to a greater extent new partners who see the opportunity of how to embrace sports betting. But ultimately, what do the corporate partners want to do? They want to enhance their reputation, they want to sell more, build trust with consumers. And the way to do that is to get closer to the consumer and give them something that maybe they're not getting from another corporate partner or just from their day-to-day experience of following their favorite sports team or favorite player.

Ronald Greene (13:11): And kind of looking at it from a league perspective. It's like, well, it, it's more than just, and this is a big part of it, but it's more than just the revenue that they can bring in from a DraftKings or a FanDuel. That's wildly important. But it's also understanding that, okay, cool, if we're able to do this, this is going to generate more viewership because people are going to be actively betting on games. Basketball, NBA Fan X does not necessarily care about the Washington Wizards, but tonight because he's got a small little wager on the game and with that, we watching the game, which in turn helps the NBA, which in turn helps the teams because like we talked about before, that helps viewership and that's something that they're going to be able to sell to the broadcast partners.

(13:54): So being able to see two and three levels ahead is super imperative. And that's something that a lot of the leagues do well and some are just able to move a little bit quicker than others when it comes to that thing. But it, it's just a matter of sometimes it feels like one of the leagues may not want to be the first to move, while others may want to be the first to move, let somebody else make that mistake or take that chance, see how it works, and they all talk and then go from there. So it's interesting to see how quickly leagues broadcast partners and what have you have flipped the script on sports betting as they've started to understand where a lot of the benefits,

Bryan Harris (14:31): You look at a couple sports that were super popular, probably pre 1990 <laugh> and in some cases maybe pre 1970, and that's boxing and horse racing. There was a time where those were two of the most popular sports in this country. And both their popularity has really, really eroded over time. However, boxing has seen a resurgence in recent years, especially globally. I think boxing is more of a global sport than it ever has been. Horse racing, not so much outside of the Triple Crown races, which unfortunately have been plagued by scandal in recent years. Outside of that, it's just not the sport of kings as it was for so many years where tens of thousands of people would pack into race tracks every weekend, not just for a major stakes, but those are two sports that have always lent themselves to the fancy of gamblers. And how do you feel that those are two sports that can, in boxing's case, continue its resurgence and in horse racing's case maybe experience the kind of resurgence it's been looking for, for decades. If they can take advantage of legalized gaming in, at least in the states where boxing is held, that the one thing is that's so many big fights are held in Nevada and you can,

(15:47): If you can get people interested in just betting on their mobile device from wherever they are, or in most states where gambling is approved, is federally approved or on the state level approved, it would really build engagement because boxing really lends it to prop bets. What round is this going to end? Is this guy going to end up on the canvas in this round? How many punches is so-and-so going to throw? I mean, there's so many fun ways to engage with a boxing match normally you may not really care much about.

Ronald Greene (16:16): It's interesting. I'm glad you brought that up because I, I've thought about that a lot as well, especially as you see over the last handful of years, decade or so, the rise that the UFC has made so far. And so you see that there is some sort of appetite for combat sports and you're seeing that on a weekly basis from the UFC's perspective. Boxing, when you have a big boxing event, a big fight, there's nothing like it. And I think that is a case of that's going to come back. It's had a bit of a downturn. And I think that here on the state side, it's tough to get people super interested and excited if we don't have a big American fighter. And as we're able to start to generate that, I think that'll change things to get some of these guys who are musty TV and get people starting to get or start to get people more excited and more than just the boxing fan or even the casual fan, we need to get just regular sports fans into this as well. So I think that boxing probably has a better chance of regaining or getting closer to its peak. I don't know if it'll get back there, but probably closer than, and it, it's just seeing kind of how viewership is dwindled a over the last decade plus for the triple crown races, you start to really see the viewership dip once you get to that third crown of the triple crown, that third leg of the triple crown if,

Bryan Harris (17:43): Yeah, exactly.

Ronald Greene (17:44): Exactly. So it's tough. It's tricky. And that always to me has lent itself to be kind of an in-person at, if I'm going to the Belmont which I've been to or Preakness that's where I'm placing those bets because that's just more of the excitement and that's part of the pageantry. That is

Bryan Harris (18:03): Part of the experience. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But I guess the real challenge is,

Ronald Greene (18:07): How do we bring it home

Bryan Harris (18:08): Engaged? How do you keep people engaged year round and not just around a specific race? And you could say that about boxing and about horse racing. If you look at boxing, the last big fight was a few weeks ago, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and we were five times when somebody hit the mat and a bat hit the canvas. That would've been after the fourth time, after the fourth knockdown Boy talk about,

Ronald Greene (18:34): Never would've bet on that 11th round knockout. But that's fun. But the problem is as excited as we can get for that event and the fact that we're still talking about it in this 24 hour news cycle, when's the next one? And that's where we start to lose people because we may not get another big event like that. Probably not this year. We're not going to get that this year. So now we're looking at spring. So that's a lot of lost time in between and that lost time in between people are focusing elsewhere. So boxing I think is a better chance for horse racing. But some of these things start to become a little bit more available to the masses, specifically California, New York and Texas. It'll be interesting to see how things turn over the next handful of years.

Bryan Harris (19:11): Yeah. Do you see well, I don't know if it's a matter of do you see, but when will we see a time when you're watching a broadcast and NFL broadcast, whether it's the Super Bowl or regular season game or an NBA in season and you've got the odds posted, framed around the image, the broadcasters are talking about the bets. I mean, there's a lot of things that can raise people's suspicion. When broadcasters start talking about wagering, you start to wonder, I saw a quote from Rob Manfred, the commissioner baseball last week about something to the extent that the broadcast presentations will always be family friendly, if you will. So you have to balance appealing to the family entertainment side, which I think all the sports claim to do baseball probably more than any of the four major team sports, but also appealing to that fan base, which are avid sports gamblers. And it's a big reason sometimes the only reason why they tune in. So you got to kind of find that balance and find the right marketing partners, corporate partners who can help you develop that kind of platform campaign, if you will, to deliver on that. So

Ronald Greene (20:22): I think that's close. And for a couple of reasons. One, you've got ESPN and a number of other broadcasters that have different simulcasts. We, we'll see it tonight, ESPN, they've got Monday Night Football, but on ESPN two they have the Manning broadcast

Bryan Harris (20:35): Manning broadcast yeah.

Ronald Greene (20:36): Think that the easiest for teams and leagues to go would be to just have that separate

Bryan Harris (20:42): Broadcast that second screen experience. You got

Ronald Greene (20:44): ESPN plus Fox, that's Fox Sports one. You can have your traditional broadcast on your mothership station, and then you can have that gambling or secondary broadcast on another station or on an app or just we're all here watching sports anyway. So that would be probably the easiest way to do it and likely the way that it will be done, because like you said, they don't want to compromise the broadcast that we're all used to and make sure that we're still keeping it a family type broadcast. In terms of timing, I'd be super surprised if we're waiting more than a year or two for this to happen. And that's financially, there are obviously ways that you'll be able to, or networks will be able to profit off of that. We've already seen these networks. I think pretty much all of them. Cause I know Fox has a couple of sports betting shows and Fox Sports I should say.

(21:32): And then ESPN has that daily wage show that we talked about before. So it's just a matter of really combining what they already have and putting it on the alternate broadcast. All of these networks are starving for content. And since we all do have that ticket screen, it's not a matter of if you're going to get people to watch, it's just how many, and it's certainly an opportunity that all teams, leagues partners are considering at this point in time. And it is just a matter of finding that right balance for timing and making sure that all parties involved are onboard A and B are really on the same page. But I'd be surprised if by 2023 we don't already have that broadcast or it may not necessarily be for every single game on a channel, but for specific games for sure, by 2023. Okay. I think

(22:18): That's a reasonable

(22:19): Expectation. So we'll check back on the subject long before then.

Bryan Harris (22:26): Well, Ronald, I think we're going to have to have a follow up conversation sometime next year because there is so much more that will be developing, evolving, and innovating in the world of sports betting geographically, technologically, legally. The sports wager landscape is really in an early phase, and many investors and marketers are still sitting on the sidelines and observing to see how this will all eventually play out. But one thing's for sure, it will play out in a very big way across almost every collegiate and professional sport in the United States and around the world. So stay tuned.

Narrator (23:02): Well, that wraps up this episode of Shapers of Possibility—a Taylor Podcast. To learn more about what we do at Taylor, you can find us at

Looking for more episodes of the podcast? Find us wherever you stream stuff—we’re on iTunes and other major streaming platforms. And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter: at Taylor Strategy. Thanks for stopping by and tuning in. Peace.

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