KYW, CBS’s affiliate in Philadelphia, is the first affiliate to take sports betting advertisers and it is something the company is paying attention to at the corporate level. CBS CEO Les Moonves said “We’re extremely excited. It’s a category that has unbelievable upside” on a recent earnings call. The company is so excited in fact that WCBS in New York is expected to start taking that same ad revenue very soon.
In an article at Bloomberg.com Eben Novy-Williams and Lucas Shaw wrote that legalized gambling won’t just effect network’s advertising performance. It could also help stem the tide of cord cutting in the US.
The new ad money shows one of the most direct ways legal sports gambling could influence not just networks, but also leagues and teams around the country. Media money is the primary revenue driver in sports — it’s as true for the National Football League as it is for Rutgers University athletics — and if Moonves is right, more fan interest will quickly translate to more viewing in areas that legalize wagering. That will lead to higher demand for ads and probably make live sports rights, one of the few bulwarks against widespread cable cutting, even more valuable.
Moonves did not get into particulars of just how much money KYW has made from sports betting advertisers. He did say that sports book advertising could reach the heights that daily fantasy sports advertising did in 2015. During the football season that year there were times when both FanDuel and Draft Kings led the way in spending.