The National Football League (NFL) has taken another significant step in its embrace of legalized sports betting, reaching its first domestic agreement to allow a sportsbook to stream live NFL games within its platform.
The NFL and its real-time data distributor Genius Sports announced an expanded partnership Monday (December 5) that allows Genius to distribute low-latency live video feeds to sportsbook operators in the U.S.
Previously, the company was only able to distribute video feeds internationally.
As part of the deal, Caesars Sportsbook became the first operator to offer a “Watch and Bet” live stream, rolling out the feature during the “Sunday Night Football” game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts on December 4.
The agreement allows Caesars to stream “select regular season and postseason games each week,” according to a release from the companies on Monday.
“The addition of live 'Watch & Bet' video streaming brings the best that the NFL has to offer right into the Caesars Sportsbook app,” said Eric Hession, president of Caesars Digital.
“Delivering innovative technology like this remains a key emphasis for us, so being the first U.S. sportsbook to provide customers with in-app NFL live streaming isn’t something we take lightly.”
Although Caesars may be the first to offer the feature, the release does not specify that the offering is an exclusive one, potentially allowing other NFL-partnered sportsbooks to offer live video feeds in the future if they are willing to meet the asking price.
The NFL has three official sports-betting partners in Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as lower-tier agreements with BetMGM and Fox Bet as “approved sportsbook operators.”
The “Watch and Bet” feature is thought to be a key feature for live betting, particularly if the feed is a lower latency from the television broadcast, which is typically noticeably behind live game action, making particularly granular live bets difficult for sportsbooks to offer.
However, those feeds are also customarily a lower video quality, and they are only available through mobile devices so as not to attract viewers away from television broadcasts, which are the subject of the most expensive rights package in U.S. television.
The NFL brings in more than $10bn a season in television revenue through its agreements with FOX, CBS, NBC, and Amazon.
“We’re excited to offer fans a new way to experience and engage with NFL content,” said Brent Lawton, vice president media strategy and business development with the NFL. “Watch and Bet is an innovative step forward in our partnerships with Genius Sports and Caesars.”