NHL Desires Payment from Sportsbooks for Data, Broadcasts

NHL Desires Payment from Sportsbooks for Data, Broadcasts

While most American professional sports leagues have made their position on legal sports betting abundantly clear, one voice that’s been less publicized on the matter is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s.

After all, Bettman’s league just became the first to put a franchise in the gambling capital of the United States, Las Vegas, and the Golden Knights rewarded that decision with a successful Stanley Cup run in their first season.

Having such familiarity with Sin City, then, surely hockey betting fans would expect Bettman to be keen on spreading the success of Vegas-style sports around the country. Clearly he would see how business thrives for both leagues and sportsbooks in Nevada without the latter having to compensate the former for anything.

Or, perhaps, he would simply tow the line and fall into place with the other commissioners chomping at the bit for consolation money after New Jersey defeated them in the Supreme Court case of Murphy v. NCAA.

Bettman Wants Intellectual Property Recognized

Yes, sadly as comments on the Associated Press’s Sports Now Podcast revealed, Bettman is joining his colleagues in championing the so-called “intellectual property” they maintain and the sanctity of league-controlled data.

In yet another justification by an uber-rich sports figurehead for skimming money off the top of the new American sports betting industry, Bettman sat down with host Larry Lage to discuss his thoughts.

“From our standpoint, we believe that, whether it’s our intellectual property, our data, whether its video of our game, we have important assets and if somebody is going to avail themselves or want to avail themselves of those assets in order to conduct their business, then we're going to need to have a negotiation.”

Keeping pace with the likes of Rob Manfred of Major League Baseball and Adam Silver of the National Basketball Association, Bettman chose to completely ignore the fact that Las Vegas sportsbooks pay the leagues absolutely nothing. Because such precedence and success clearly shouldn’t weigh in on what’s best for the future of the industry.

Earlier in the interview, Bettman explained how even though federal law now allows sports betting to be decided by the states, the NHL maintained its longtime moral reservations. He made it clear that it would take at least a little extra money to deal with and subdue those qualms.

“We've historically been opposed to extending sports betting on our game, and emotionally I don’t think that's changed. It is a fact of life that in light of the Supreme Court's ruling, and it'll be up to states to decide whether or not they're going to enact sports betting.”

Doubling Down on Previous Thoughts

His most recent input comes with little surprise as right after the SCOTUS decision back in May, Bettman sat down with CNBC’s Squawk Box to give his preliminary thoughts.

He hinted at potentially holding essential elements like data and game broadcasts for ransom from sportsbooks even though that would likely lead to more court cases as its not set in stone whether leagues even have that right.

“There are things that if you’re going to run a professional sports book, you’re going to need from us as leagues not just the NHL but all the leagues. From our standpoint we want to make sure that it’s done right.”

Bettman also touted new technology that the league is developing that would supposedly be revolutionary for sportsbooks and statisticians alike as any good car salesman would.

“We’re in the process from a technology standpoint of working on what we call puck and player tracking, so the amount of data that we can create in the course of the game that currently now you can’t pull out of the game as officially. Once we get that in place that may create enormous opportunities as well.

Regardless of how things shake out for the leagues in these upcoming negotiations, the ball is already rolling. The NBA made headlines across the sports world this week agreeing to terms with MGM for the first such partnership (sportsbook and league) in U.S. history.