With the new TV deal announced by Vince McMahon’s XFL, one has to wonder if the higher exposure level that the league will see will drive betting on the XFL to higher levels.
Announced on Monday, May 6, the XFL will be airing on ABC, ESPN, and FOX channels. The league also announced the full TV schedule of times and networks for the debut season.
High Powered Network Partnerships
The XFL’s statement contained the unexpected bombshells of XFL games airing on ABC, ESPN and FOX networks, including ESPN2, FS1, and FS2.
Adding to the weight of the announcement is the fact that, as of right now, there is only one game scheduled to be on FS2. Of the 43 games that will take place in the first season, 13 of them will take place on ABC, more than any other channel.
The remaining games break down as follows:
- 11 on Fox
- 9 on FS1
- 7 on ESPN (including the championship on April 26)
- 2 on ESPN2
- 1 on FS2
Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling:
“Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry’s most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league. We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”
The statement also includes an announcement that “Additional XFL-themed programming and on-air talent will be announced in the future,” further expanding coverage on the XFL, likely on major networks that will be seen by a much wider audience than the previous iteration of the league. Vince McMahon:
"The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend."
More Coverage, More Betting?
So far, unlike the AAF, the XFL has not made any moves toward betting, but the league is still over 9 months from kicking off. There’s still plenty of time for the league to begin making deals with betting companies and sports data companies.
Should the XFL be going that route, we can expect to see the XFL sealing these deals sometime starting around June, as that’s when the AAF announced their deal with MGM back in 2018. So far, McMahon and the XFL have made no indication they’ll embrace sports betting.
However, like every other league, the XFL will be powerless to stop betting on the league. With the announcement that the league will be held on two of the most accessible networks in the country, there’s every possibility that bookmakers will see heavy betting on the league.
It seems reasonable to think that the XFL would be available for streaming on ESPN and FOX channels, in contrast to the AAF and their partnership in CBS. CBS has long been lambasted for being significantly less accessible for TV subscriptions and online streaming than competitors.
With the increased accessibility to the new league, once can expect that it will help drive betting to higher levels than were seen by the AAF. Final numbers for AAF betting were never circulated, possibly because the league folded, causing problems for bettors and bookmakers.
Betting blindly on teams in unappealing at best for obvious reasons, so knowing about teams is essential to betting on them. And betting on a team might mean that a person is more likely to watch that game, at least according to a poll released by Seton Hall earlier this year.
So while the XFL might not be as directly sports-betting-friendly as the AAF was, Vince McMahon might want to consider joining the betting world anyway. The league is certainly setting up to be as friendly to betting as any other league in the country.