If you live in New York and pay attention to sports, you probably already know that sports betting is officially legal. The betting platforms have taken up the entire advertising space to make sure we all know. Whether or not you participate in sports betting, you may have thought about how this will affect the live experience of watching New York baseball, particularly the Yankees.
Unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL, Major League Baseball, mainly the Yankees and Mets, has some time to see how this could affect the live experience. By live experience, I mean both online, at home while watching a game, and being at the game in person. The latter is extremely interesting to ponder.
MLB teams have already invested in on-site sportsbooks. While the history of the game has told you that sports betting is frowned upon, today’s landscape is willing to welcome it with open arms for several reasons. First, it expands the crowd of fans! In a vacuum, that is good for the game. I don’t think anybody knows exactly what the impact will be, but it will almost certainly get many people involved who were not fans of the game.
Second, there is a major financial benefit for the owners that they will do everything to take advantage of, as some already have. If a given team, such as the Yankees, opens a sportsbook that is attached to the stadium but not inside of it, then the team can shield those revenues from the MLB revenue sharing system. That is crazy!
In other words, all the money that is made from the sportsbook will be kept for the team. That could be advantageous for a few reasons. The Yankees will probably have the most booming sportsbook of any team in MLB, given the market they’re in. That is clearly a financial advantage that they would have over most markets, and if Hal Steinbrenner is up to it, it could be a clear competitive advantage. I’m skeptical that is how Steinbrenner would choose to use the extra cash flow, but it’s still possible.
Even if revenue sharing and other premises of the future CBA do not work out in the Yankees’ favor, they will have the cushion of their team-run sportsbook to make up for any lost profits. It’s truly the most owner-friendly addition to the sport that some of these clubs could have dreamed of. It doesn’t matter whatever bureaucratic hoops need to be jumped through — the Yankees will have a building dedicated to betting in the near future.
As far as the in-game experience is concerned, some people will be paying very close attention to the micro details in the game. Imagine you’re sitting in the bleachers in Yankee Stadium. Before the game, you stopped in the attached sportsbook building to place a bet on the Yankees winning straight. The seventh inning rolls around and the Yankees are down four. You still have enough time to hedge your bet, so you go ahead and place another wager. The result doesn’t matter, it’s the activity and cycle.
Baseball can be a complicated, unpredictable game, but one thing that it offers more so than any other major sports is downtime. There is time in between each pitch, each at-bat, each inning, and so on and so forth. In that downtime, there is more than enough opportunity to place bet after bet after bet. I’m sure Yankee stadium will commit a few big screens to make sure the fans see exactly what they can place their bets on, or what the super boost for the inning is. It’s going to be hectic. Get yourself prepared.