NBC to step lightly into NFL sports gambling
Only “isolated” references to sports wagers are expected
The big question on everyone’s mind, now that sports gambling is making history in the US and the NFL season is upon us, is whether or not the activity will find support in the public arena. CBS Sports appears to be ready to embrace the action, but others are approaching with more trepidation. NBC Sports is one of these, and is expected to only allow “isolated” hints at sports wagers and sportsbooks.
NBC is going to cover 17 Sunday Night games this season, starting with a showdown between long-time rivals on September 5. The Packers will face off against the Bears that night, but there most likely won’t be much discussion in the way of sports gambling during the game. In fact, out of all the Sunday Night contests, only one is going to be held in a state where sportsbooks are ready to roll. That will be the game between the Seahawks and the Eagles, to be held in Pennsylvania on November 24.
Al Michaels, synonymous with Sunday Night Football (SNF), has dropped hints on sports gambling over the years during his broadcasts. This will be the first year when there is major sports wager discussion taking place, but he might not be able to loosen up. The executive producer of SNF, Fred Gaudelli, explains that only “somewhat isolated” references will be allowed.
The restrictions most likely won’t last long. Comcast controls NBC and likes to always find new avenues for increasing its earnings. More sports gambling talk means potentially more viewers, which translates into higher ad prices.