CBS Broadcast Ticker for Pro Football Could Include NFL Odds and Sports Betting Lines

Posted on: August 16, 2019, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: August 16, 2019, 09:01h.

NFL odds and lines could be featured on the scrolling ticker during CBS broadcasts of pro football games this year. That represents a stark contrast from the network’s previous position on sports betting.

NFL odds CBS sports betting
CBS might soon include NFL odds on its ticker at the bottom of the broadcast screen. (Image: CBS)

Network executives are considering embracing the odds on NFL games and featuring current lines during broadcasts. CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus met this week with reporters at the network’s NFL media day to discuss its broadcasting developments for the 2019-20 season.

“We’re still talking about it [displaying odds],” McManus explained. “We have not formulated our plan yet, but it’s under discussion.”

CBS considering embracing sports betting varies greatly from the network’s earlier stance. A year ago at this time – just three months after the US Supreme Court repealed the longstanding federal ban on sports betting on grounds that the law was unconstitutional – McManus said CBS announcers had been told not to reference spreads.

Legal sports betting is now operational in 10 states: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Mississippi, Arkansas, and New Mexico. But just two states – Pennsylvania and New Jersey – are home to where NFL teams play.

Political Unrest

McManus says he’s confident that this year’s NFL season won’t be impacted by the political arena. Kneeling protests during the national anthem over the last two years have rocked the league and have been cited for a decline in television ratings.

The protests were provoked by President Donald Trump, who urged owners to fire players who he said disrespected the flag and the country. The commander-in-chief is still a divisive figure to many, but McManus believes this year will be different.

In some ways, with everything that’s going on politically, sports is even more valuable in terms of just taking a break from all of the other issues that people are worried about,” the CBS Sports exec opined. “It’s really a respite from what’s going on in the world, and that makes the NFL even more valuable.”

“I don’t see all the attention focused on politics necessarily affecting what happens on Sunday afternoon on CBS,” McManus concluded.

Sports Betting Assist

The American Gaming Association says the NFL stands to benefit the most of the US “big four” pro sports leagues from the expansion of sports betting. A Nielsen Sports study concluded that the spread of regulated gambling on sports will deliver the NFL $2.3 billion annually in new revenue.

The NFL expanded its partnership with Sportradar earlier this week by announcing that the data firm will be its official distributor of real-time, play-by-play statistics to sportsbook operators in legal US and international markets.

An earlier Nielsen Sports study deduced that sports betting drives engagement. Adults who wager money on an NFL game were found to watch 19 more regular season games than the typical football fan.

McManus said NFL ratings for CBS were up six percent last year, with the average game pulling in 16.4 million viewers.

The executive added that the recent merger of Viacom and CBS won’t impact its sports coverage. “Whatever happens to CBS corporately, sports is going to remain an important part of our portfolio,” McManus declared.