CBS Will Ignore Sports Betting Content During NFL Broadcasts, For Now
Posted on: August 29, 2018, 09:00h.
Last updated on: August 29, 2018, 09:10h.
Sports betting content may be going more mainstream these days, but CBS isn’t playing along, at least, not yet.
The network that put legendary gambling commentator Jimmy the Greek on the map announced that it will keep its broadcasters from mentioning sports betting lines during NFL games.
Normally, the announcement wouldn’t be news, as major broadcasting outlets have always kept gambling talk off the airwaves. But all that is changing now that Supreme Court has ruled that individual states are now free to create their own regulations around sports betting.
The report comes from SI.com, which caught up with the head of CBS sports content this week.
At CBS’ NFL Media Day. CBS Sports President Sean McManus just told me CBS NFL announcers will not mention point spreads, teams covering the spreads, etc, during telecasts this season.
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 28, 2018
When pressed for details, McManus insisted that the trend isn’t yet widespread enough, while also sounding like a man who is hedging his bets for the future.
“We’re not going to be doing it in our NFL coverage right now,” McManus told SI.com. “The ruling has only affected a small handful of states, so we don’t think it affects the audience greatly, so right now we’re not going to be talking about point spreads with our NFL coverage.”
Delaying the Inevitable?
Sports betting may be legal in just a handful of states at this point, but interest is far more widespread than McManus suggests. Estimates vary, but the annual amount of sports wagers Americans make at offshore, unlicensed sports books is believed to be between $70 billion and $150 billion every year.
CBS’ stance is in stark contrast to the situation overseas. In Europe, gambling lines are not only mentioned by broadcasters during high-profile soccer matches, but the teams themselves sport sponsorship patches from British bookmakers like Bet365 and Ladbrokes.
That won’t be happening stateside anytime soon. For now, you won’t be hearing CBS’ lead NFL team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo mention point spreads or money lines during NFL broadcasts.
NBC play-by-play man Al Michaels is famous in sports wagering circles for his cheeky betting references during the games.
“I find it more of a fun thing because there has always been this perception it is verboten and we are not allowed to talk about it,” Michaels said to Awful Announcing.
NBC and Fox, the two other Networks which hold broadcast rights to NFL games, have yet to address how they plan to handle the quickly changing sports betting climate in the US.
Out From the Shadows
While CBS may not be on board – yet – other networks are jumping into the sports betting content pool head first.
The ink had barely dried on the Supreme Court decision before ESPN launched an all-sports-betting show called “I’ll Take That Bet.” The broadcast features a panel of betting experts discussing every type of wager you could dream up.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports has been pushing hard to land broadcasting legend Brent Musburger to front a new sports betting show it hopes to launch in the fall. However, Musburger has yet to sign on the dotted line.
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