Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy is optimistic that legalised sports betting in the USA is not only going to lead to monetary benefits for the league, but also greater fan engagement.
Speaking to the Boston Herald this week, Kennedy said the coming profits ranked second in his mind.
“Yes, there will be a positive revenue impact for the team – how much I don’t know. But that is absolutely secondary in my opinion to the engagement, to people following, paying attention, being engaged with the Boston Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics as a result of betting on that sport and betting on in-game activities,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy believes in-play betting would whip up more enthusiasm into matches in which the overall scoreline is too one-sided to engage neutrals.
“If there’s a game that’s 10-1 in the seventh inning, people might tune out but the thought is now you’ll stay in, watching, because you’re engaging in betting on the outcome of what may happen.
He reiterated the need to regulate sports betting, citing the huge illegal market that is now worth between $75bn and $150bn per year.
“That’s happening today, it’s just in illegal fashion with non-licensed, non-regulated betting providers – off-shore or in other countries. The regulation is important; there is nothing more important to the Commissioner and the leagues than the integrity of the game. Players, front office members will not be allowed to engage in these activities. The general public will.” he said.