How excited are MLB owners about legalized betting and the league’s new partnership with MGM? They’re so excited that next week’s owners meetings will be held in Las Vegas. The simple formula is that betting drives higher ratings (you’re much more likely to watch the late innings of a 10-1 game in June if you have a prop bet on Mookie Betts reaching base at least twice) and higher ratings drive more betting.
Baseball in particular is a good sport for in-game betting as, the time between pitches gives people a chance to place more bets.
“Yes, there will be a positive revenue impact for the team – how much I don’t know – but that is absolutely secondary in my opinion to the (increased) engagement, to people following, paying attention, being engaged with the Boston Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics as a result of betting on that sport and betting on in-game activities” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Herald.
I can answer Kennedy’s question about how much of a “positive revenue impact” betting will have on the Red Sox in two words: a lot. And I’m pretty sure Kennedy knows that, but he has to craft his words carefully as the Red Sox and MLB try to maintain appearances of being family-friendly entertainment.
My guess is that the Red Sox didn’t even want to answer questions on the impact of betting. If they had, this would have been nicely packaged up and hand delivered to John Henry’s Boston Globe.