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Is Sports Betting Saving Live TV?

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Sports and sports betting often go hand in hand and both remain big business. Estimates vary widely but the sports industry alone is said to be worth upwards of $180 billion in 2022. 

A recent study by Sport Business Journal into TV viewership this March has revealed sport was responsible for an incredible 45 of the top 50 most watched events on television. 

Many popular US sports continue to drive viewer interest. The NFL in particular draws in the big numbers, and was responsible for over half of the games in the top 50 list viewed by American audiences.

Super Bowl LVI which featured the Rams against the Bengals, drew in the most figures. While other high profile games in the NFC Championship games and AFC Divisional Playoffs topped the list also.

Only President Biden’s State of the Union address, which was covered by fourteen networks in total, broke football’s viewership hegemony. The President’s speech was the only non-sports and non-football event on television to feature in the top 10 for most viewership.

Other non-sporting events that feature in the list were the Academy Awards on ABC and 60 Minutes, but paled in comparison

The number of states with legal sports betting according to this BetBlazers guide is at a record high for 2022. Since the overturning of PASPA in 2018, the majority of US states have sought to legalize gambling, in particular sports betting, in one form or another. 

A total of 18 states currently permit the registration of online sports betting accounts with licensed sportsbooks. Many states currently have a number of operators vying for the competition of sports betting enthusiasts. 

Ohio becomes the latest state to legalize online betting with a projected entry for January 2023. It will become one of the largest legal gambling markets in the country following legalization in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania over the last four year period. 

A range of sports betting options are currently being offered to players online. These include pre-game, fixed odds and futures bets. However the majority of headway has been made with the access of live betting odds. This provides the intrinsic link between active, in-game sports betting and TV viewership. 

In a recent survey focused towards sports betting legalization, 56.9% of the captive audience said they accepted sports betting advertisements on television. This is perhaps an indicator of the softening in perception among the wider US public. 

With sports viewership bucking the trends for 2022, it remains to be seen just how far viewership will surge. Many of the sporting calendar’s biggest events have yet to take place with the exception of this year’s Super Bowl. 

The study into television viewership for this March revealed Americans were also heavily interested in viewing global sporting events. The Winter Olympics featured prominently where many patriots are likely to have focused on US performances, although this is so far unconfirmed. 

US qualification for the soccer World Cup could provide a further boost this winter. World Cup 2022 in Qatar will take place over November and December, breaking from its usual summer format.

The soccer World Cup is set to be the largest televised sporting event in the world, and is recruiting a growing following stateside. The US will feature in three initial group games and could progress further into the elimination stages. 

The link between sports betting and active television viewership is only set to rise as more markets become available and licensed operators become more entrenched in the market. 

The popularity of sports in the wider television landscape is near total, while the popularity of sports betting provides a natural complement in the general experience for many. How far