However, the NFL "Shadow Economy" one of betting, office pools, and fantasy football shows that the $9.5 Billion number is low. The spin off effects are dazzling.
- The amount wagered in Vegas on NFL games: $1.34 Billion
- The amount wagered offshore on NFL games: $380 Billion
- The number of people playing fantasy football, a form of wagering: 33 million
- The number of people added to fantasy football each year: 2 million
- The amount of money spent on fantasy football: $800 million
- The amount of money changing hands for fantasy football leagues: $1.18 Billion
All in all this so-called "$9.5 Billion dollar business" attracts (conservatively) $400 billion in wagering, and another several billion in hard revenues.
One might wonder why they don't try and "get more of that money" and do it all themselves; open up their own casino, ban fantasy football unless you sign up on NFL.com, and all the rest. It's because that money is drawing eyeballs to the sport, selling jerseys, and adding to TV revenue. They're fine with these "soldiers" working for them on all the marketing front lines. It's a part of the ecosystem that keeps everyone employed:
- Gambling is
a shadow industry that operates independently of the NFL but relies on
football games to bankroll casinos and its gamblers. In turn, the NFL
benefits from the intense fan interest that gambling helps to generate.
Many fans have far more riding on this weekend’s game than regional
“The NFL knows a meaningful part of their fan base is interested because they can bet on the games. And if they can’t they would be far less interested in getting tickets, going to games and buying merchandise,” says Finn.
With gambling the number one revenue driver, by a mile, there may be some merit to those policies. But racing can't complain that the fan base is dwindling, and betting is falling, while those anti "top line" growth policies are embraced.
When policies are brought forth that hinder ADW's from promoting the sport to new customers, betfair is hindered in doing similar to the world, and your "mavens" in the media world are not allowed to innovate and resell, you are not allowing the ecosystem to flourish.
The NFL's ecosystem is alive and well and it is helping that sport thrive. Racing, although a whole different ball of wax in terms of a business model, hasn't seemed to figure out what their ecosystem even is, let alone how to properly exploit it.