In the age of regulated sports betting in the United States, the NFL may have to have a new motto, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” That phrase seems particularly germane when paired with the news that the NFL has just inked, what is certainly, a massive deal with Tabcorp to become their official Australian wagering partner.
As part of the deal, Tabcorp has also secured the right to air the NFL’ popular, and lucrative, RedZone on the Sky Racing Channel. To say that this is a different approach to gambling than the NFL has taken in past years is something of an understatement.
Less surprising is that fact that details of the deal are still pretty sketchy. We do know that Tabcorp will be partnering with the NFL on a free-to-play pick ’em. The massive Australian digital lottery proponent will also air and stream the Red Zone (which is a program that only shows potential scoring plays as they happen), as well as air a single NFL game to its retail outlets.
While the NFL is still a niche market in Australia, those Sunday games air on Monday morning in Australia, it’s still a lucrative betting market that Tabcorp is happy to be part of. In a statement to The Sydney Morning Herald, sports rights expert Colin Smith summed up the win-win for Tabcorp and the NFL saying, “More dollars flowing into the NFL, but more people will watch the NFL as well. Which means, over time when the next rights deal comes up, it’s worth more.”