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Has Sports Betting Increased Sports Viewership?

With an increasing number of states embracing the legalization of sports betting, the dynamic landscape of the sports industry is experiencing a multifaceted transformation. The phenomenon of mobile sports betting, now sanctioned in 28 states—a noteworthy leap from the 18 recorded in January 2022—is fostering an upsurge in fan participation. A staggering statistic reveals that in the previous year, almost half of American adults enthusiastically placed at least one sports wager, with a third of them engaging in this thrilling ritual on a weekly basis.

As of November 2023, Sports betting is now legal in over 30 states with online sportsbooks available in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland, Tennessee, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana, Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada, Wyoming, Arkansas and more. 

Positive Impact On Sports Viewership

It feels pretty obvious to correlate that when people have money invested they are more likely to pay attention, but how much of that attention is positive and who does it really impact. The added layer of engagement directly benefits sport leagues and advertisers with the NFL even placing emphasis on betting lines during live broadcast for viewers to follow.

According to a 2022 study from Variety and CRG Global , fans who are actively involved in sports betting are much more invested as a whole.

Here are a few key findings:

  • two-thirds of those who bet on NFL games say they watch more than usual when gambling
  • gamblers are adopting new teams as a result of emotional connection built from following results
  • during one-sided blowouts, a quarter of all sports bettors say they stop watching, with close to half saying they watch the game but pay less attention
A look at the changing viewer retention during a blowout for sports betters via Variety