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Has Sports Betting Changed the Way We Watch Baseball?

Legalized sports betting has transitioned into a giant industry that has shown zero signs of slowing down. Major sports leagues have slowly transitioned into mixing sports gambling into their leagues, and Major League Baseball is no exception. While sports betting has led to an increase in revenue, its effect on the fan experience while watching the game is highly debated. Will the positives outweigh the negatives, or does MLB have another problem on the horizon?

The Modern Consumer

A sport already dealing with the complexities of modern fan engagement, sports betting adds another wrinkle. To understand the true impact of sports betting on the way we watch baseball, it’s essential to understand the nuances of the viewing experience for fans. 

In a society seeming to want as much action in as short a time as possible, baseball is considered an “old man’s sport.” Much of the sport’s appeal is rooted in a tense battle of guts and glory between two individuals, with additional fielders for help and plenty of time in between. Pace-of-play is an issue, and combined with the growing demands of life and increased prices ticket, fewer people find that they have time for a 4-hour outing.

What Changes Are Sports Betting Responsible For?

But what if they do? Sports betting has allowed modern viewers to have a vested interest in sports besides just hoping your team wins, and that runs true for baseball. Instead of seeing stats that appeal to fantasy sports enthusiasts, you’re seeing more betting lines on TV screens. Organizations are partnering with major sports betting companies like DraftKings and FanDuel for advertising revenue. Sports channels emphasize the facets of baseball games that appeal to the diehard baseball enthusiast and the sports gambling industry as well.

Sports betting also has impacted the future of the sport. In a conversation he had with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed a key factor in how sports betting changes the way we watch baseball. Essentially, the pace of play is an issue within the sport, but speeding up the game only reduces the time between pitches and at-bats, thus reducing the time for people to make bets and props. 

So do you prioritize the viewing experience of the game, or do you branch off and await the true impact of the sports betting industry on the sport?

So What Happens Next?

What happens next is likely to change the way we consume sports in many ways. Legalized sports gambling is only growing in size and will continue to expand. So, how can MLB get fans to tune in to the world series while also managing the growth of other new and emerging industries? Regulated sports betting helps address the complex push-pull that MLB faces with its viewers, and promoting gambling groups and safe gambling practices help as well.

Slowly but surely, we are getting into the gambling golden age, which means more revenue and more wagers. New consumers are drawn into betting every day, and what that means for the future of baseball as a whole remains to be seen. But sports betting has changed the way we watch baseball, and the only certainty is that it will continue to have lasting effects. 

Baseball Gambling Problem? Our Helpline Is Here for You

If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Help is one call away, so don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-GAMBLER today.

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