NBC Sports Exec Sees Betting Advertisements Having ‘Material’ Impact For Some Regional Networks

Posted on: October 16, 2019, 03:29h. 

Last updated on: October 16, 2019, 04:32h.

NBC Sports, a unit of cable giant Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA), is accruing some benefit to its regional networks thanks to various betting-related initiatives, including its predictive gaming platform and increased advertising dollars in select markets.

David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, said the RSNs are starting to benefit from gambling ad dollars. (Image: YouTube)

Last year’s Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) paved the way for more states to permit sports betting and more broadcasters, including NBC, are wading into the pool.

NBC Sports operates eight regional sports networks (RSN) across the US, and is starting to see some positive impact in terms of advertising dollars attributable to daily fantasy companies and sportsbook operators.

For our RSNs in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston, sports betting advertising is a material business,” said David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence. “William Hill US, DraftKings, and FanDuel have inventory in NBA and NHL games, and shoulder programming. We’re also starting to see some ads on NBC Sports Chicago now that sports betting is underway in Iowa.”

In addition to the markets mentioned above, NBC has RSNs covering California, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and the Pacific Northwest.

Positioned For More Ad Dollars

California, the largest US state by population, isn’t close to legalizing sports wagering. But NBC’s other RSNs could see an uptick in betting-related ad revenue over the near-term.

In addition to Iowa in the Midwest, Indiana recently entered the sports betting market with Illinois expected to follow suit next year.

The Prairie State joining the fold could bring a boost in ad sales from sportsbook operators because Chicago is the third-largest media market in the US and is home to five franchises from the four major sports leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL.

The Northwest RSN covers teams in Oregon and Washington, with the former on the cusp of launching a state lottery-sponsored mobile app for sports bettors. In the case of the Evergreen State, home to three professional franchises, it could be another couple of years before politicians there greenlight sports betting.

Preschlack didn’t mention a specific dollar figure NBC’s RSNs are generating from advertisers in the sports betting industry. In the second quarter, Comcast’s various cable networks, including regional sports, accounted for $2.95 billion of the company’s $26.86 billion in revenue.

Predictive Power

The NBC Sports executive did say the regionals are benefiting from the “Predictor” mobile app, which includes the “Sunday Night 7” contest, though Preschlack noted articulating that boon in terms of ratings is difficult at this point.

“Predictor” also features English Premier League and NASCAR contests. Aimed at boosting fan engagements, which in broadcast talk means viewership, “Predictor” offers players the potential to win cash prizes without putting any of their own money on the line.

Last week’s “Sunday Night 7” contest lured nearly 151,000 participants, up from about 142,600 in the prior week.

“There is a lot of overlap among those playing the Premier League game and Sunday Night 7,” said Preschlack. “These are not sharks, but casual fans.”

Data confirm that bettors with a financial stake in a game are more likely to watch that contest on TV than fans who aren’t invested in the outcome, underscoring why some networks are embracing predictive gaming.