With the accented presence of Las Vegas and its predictions leaking into the airwaves of ESPN this year, college football match-ups aren’t unmentioned in the LV Superbook. In fact, ESPN has promoted gambling in a way with a real-time, on-air feature called Cover Alerts.
These alerts provide viewers with constant updates during highlight breaks on the shifting of point spreads.
With FanDuel and Draft Kings gaining momentum on daily fantasy in an industry worth over $95 billion, legalizing sports betting has made state legislators particularly antsy, especially in New Jersey, where a recent flop caused Governor Chris Christie’s state to lose the case.
To further put a sting on ESPN’s increasing gambling impulse, many higher ups at universities find the avenue ESPN is going quite distasteful and ill-fitting for college football as a whole.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby:
“I don’t think those are things that ought to be a part of the presentation of college football, but maybe that’s the environment in which we find ourselves.”
Bowlsby later added: “…quite sure that all of (the Big 12’s presidents and athletic directors) feel as I do that it’s inappropriate.”
Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione:
“Somebody might say, ‘We’re rights-holders to certain properties, we have the choice. But this subject has been sensitive for so long, I’m really surprised it has risen to this level.”
“I can’t speak for everybody, but I noticed it — and I’m concerned. A lot of us had heard about the plans to talk a little bit more about it during telecasts, but we didn’t necessarily know what it really meant. When you see it, it sort of takes on a different meaning.”
Arizona AD Greg Byrne:
“Anytime there’s anything to do with sports gambling and college sports, understandably that will be something I would hope at some point will be discussed.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey:
“There is an existing concern about the inexorable march toward gambling being more and more central to sport. It has clearly gotten more momentum based on messaging out of the NBA last year. We have to be mindful of the realities of the culture developing around us.”
Disgusted by the criticism of several disapprovals, ESPN released a statement on how its fans influence the network’s stance on gambling coverage:
“Coverage of sports betting has been carefully considered over a long period of time. We recognize that fans are increasingly interested in this conversation and that millions engage in legal sports betting. Our coverage has mirrored that larger trend in recent years and this is another step. We will approach this subject the way we do any beat we cover — providing information while examining trends, topics and stories that are shaping the wider conversation. Our mission is to serve fans and we believe this is consistent with that.”
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports