Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts after his touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NFL’s Bucs-Eagles matchup tops NLDS Game 5 in TV ratings

On Friday, the NFL received good news in the form of its Thursday Night Football regular-season matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles averaging 14.42 million viewers across all platforms, which easily outpaced Major League Baseball’s postseason game in a head-to-head comparison.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ nail-biting 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 drew 6.5 million viewers for TBS (an increase over Game 4’s 5.15 million watchers), and received the largest audience for an National League Division Series game since Game 5 between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals in 2017 (7.02 million).

Additionally for the NFL, Tampa Bay-Philadelphia reached the NFL’s second-largest digital audience ever, at 1.5 million.

Last season’s San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals matchup on Dec. 26 remains the high for digital audience at 4.8 million average viewers, though that mark was achieved without a traditional national broadcast — the game was only aired locally and digitally.

The 14.42 million total for Bucs-Eagles was up 14 percent from last season’s Week 6 game between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs (12.7 million).

–Field Level Media

Feb 26, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Dylan Cozens (25) prior to the game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former Phillies OF Dylan Cozens eyes NFL career

Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Dylan Cozens is swapping sports, moving his focus to playing in the NFL.

Cozens, 27, announced on Twitter that he is leaving the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.

“I’ve decided it’s time to chase my dream of playing in the @NFL,” he tweeted. “I want to thank the @phillies @RaysBaseball and @Brewers organizations for giving me the opportunity to play professional baseball but more importantly the people, experiences, and memories I’ll keep forever.”

Cozens appeared in 26 games for the Phillies in 2018, hitting .158 (6-for-38) with one homer and two RBIs. He got one at-bat for Philadelphia in 2019, grounding out, before finishing that season in the farm systems of the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays.

This year, Cozens batted .177 (14-for-79) with two homers, seven RBIs and four stolen bases in 31 games for Nashville. He hadn’t played since Friday, and he was a combined 0-for-13 in his last four games.

According to multiple media reports, Cozens was a two-sport star at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., before declining a football scholarship from the University of Arizona when the Phillies chose him in the second round of the 2012 draft.

He went on to hit 40 homers for Double-A Reading in 2016 to highlight a lengthy minor league baseball career.

Cozens, who is 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, was a defensive end in high school. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Cozens logged 49 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks for a state-champion Chapparal team before committing to Arizona over Boise State, Missouri, Utah and Washington.

–Field Level Media

D.C. Council Quashes Pro-League Fee, But Sports Betting Bill Moves On

The professional sports leagues struck out again on Wednesday when the D.C. City Council opted to remove language from its sports betting bill that would have payed the leagues a royalty. Entering Wednesday’s “mark-up” hearing in the Finance and Revenue Committee, a revised version of Bill 22-944 included a one-quarter of 1 percent cut of gross sports wagering revenue as a payout to the professional leagues. But the council unanimously agreed to cut the amendment that added that fee.

The net result is that the committee agreed to move the bill along to a first reading, set for Dec. 4. The goal is to get the bill voted on at a Dec. 16 meeting.

During the one-hour hearing, several other bills were discussed, but the committee spent about half an hour discussing sports betting. Key changes to the original bill included creating a two-block no-competition zone around designated gaming facilities; removing the mandate that sportsbooks use official league data and replacing that with the royalty; language reaffirming that the D.C. Lottery would regulate sports betting; and allowing mobile bettors to use the D.C. Lottery sports betting app around the city, but requiring them to use only the app approved by a gaming facility in said facility.


Read more D.C. Council Quashes Pro-League Fee, But Sports Betting Bill Moves On on SportsHandle.

MGM Adds MLB to Its List of ‘Official Partners’

Major League Baseball is following in the footsteps of the NBA and NHL, and on Tuesday announced a partnership with MGM, which now becomes baseball’s official gaming and entertainment partner. MGM already has similar deals with the NBA and NHL, and now will have access to official data and sponsorship rights from three of the four U.S. professional sports leagues.

The deal gives MGM non-exclusive rights to the MLB’s official stats, but the company will have exclusive rights to some of the league’s advanced stats.

“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said baseball commissioner Robert Manfred in an press release. “Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”

MLB Falls Into Line With NBA, NHL in Naming MGM Its ‘Official Partner’ in a Non-Exclusive Deal



Read more MGM Adds MLB to Its List of ‘Official Partners’ on SportsHandle.

Michigan Could Become First State to Pay Leagues Sports Betting ‘Integrity Fee’

So far the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and PGA Tour are 0-for-7 in persuading state lawmakers to mandate payment of an off-the-top “integrity fee” or “royalty,” putting a percentage of legal sports bets into league coffers.

Now, a key lawmaker in Michigan sponsoring a bill that would legalize sports betting and iGaming in the state could give a win to the leagues.

According to a report from Reuters, following a U.S. Sports Betting Policy Summit in Washington D.C. this week, Michigan state representative Brandt Iden (R-District 61) changed his mind on the fees after “spending significant time with the leagues.”


DraftKings, FanDuel Victory In Indiana Supreme Court Has Sports Betting Implications

The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a decision in favor of DraftKings and FanDuel in a case brought by three former collegiate football players, who argued that the daily fantasy sports operators violated the players’ “right of publicity” under Indiana law.

Indiana’s highest court found that the DFS operators (and now sportsbook operators in some states) committed no such violation, because their use of player data, statistics and names falls within an exception to the rule, because that information falls within the meaning of “material that has newsworthy value,” the court writes. It made no difference that DraftKings and FanDuel were using the stats and information commercially — in contests requiring entry fees and awarding cash prizes. 

The court made it clear they were answering only a limited question based on the set of facts presented. That said, the net effect of this ruling, which leaned on precedent from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, may streak into the national conversation about data within the context of legal sports wagering.


Read more DraftKings, FanDuel Victory In Indiana Supreme Court Has Sports Betting Implications  on SportsHandle.

Study: MLB, NBA to Yield Combined $1.7 Billion From Legal Sports Betting

The American Gaming Association on Thursday released the results of two more Nielsen studies, showing how America’s professional sports leagues stand to benefit from legal, regulated sports betting. The latest studies indicate that Major League Baseball will see a revenue increase of $1.106 billion, and the NBA is look at a $585 million bump. Combined with research from previous studies on the NFL and NHL, U.S. professional sports leagues can expect an overall combined revenue boost of $4.23 billion.

The increased revenue won’t come from the “integrity fee” or “royalty” that some of the professional sports leagues have been lobbying for, but rather from increased fan engagement (media rights, sponsorships, merchandise, tickets) and through gaming (TV advertising, sponsorships, data packages).

According to the studies, MLB will net $952 million from increased fan engagement and $154 million from gaming-related revenue. The NBA should see increases of $425 million and $160 million, respectively. Results of previous studies showed that the NFL will see the biggest benefit, an overall increase in revenue of $2.33 billion, and the NHL can expect an increase of $216 million.


Read more Study: MLB, NBA to Yield Combined $1.7 Billion From Legal Sports Betting on SportsHandle.

Hearing Reveals Illinois Lawmakers Moving Toward Legalizing Sports Betting

If anything became clear from Wednesday’s Joint Committee on Revenue in Finance in Illinois it was this: Illinois lawmakers are eager to pass a bill legalizing sports wagering in Illinois. The question — or questions — are what the bill will look like. During the four-plus hour hearing in Springfield, lawmakers heard from gaming stakeholders, representatives from individual cities and towns, pro sports players’ associations, Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox, various horsemen’s groups and racetracks and those opposed to sports betting.

Questions from the bi-partisan panel of lawmakers almost exclusively focused on details, suggesting that many had already made the decision that legal sports betting is right for Illinois. But the devil is in the details, and when it comes to legalizing sports betting, there are many, many, many details.

The hearing was put together by Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28) and was the second of two in the last few months. Rita introduced SB 7 in 2017, and the bill has gone through multiple iterations and evolved into a comprehensive bill that contemplates online gaming and daily fantasy sports as well.

Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting & Sports: SVP, G2E & New Mexico’s a ‘Go’

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).

Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.

SVP: Legal Sports Betting Just ‘Common Sense’

ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt didn’t pussyfoot around his thoughts on sports betting at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas earlier this week. Nope, the sometimes irreverent, always hip late-night sports jock just said it like it is on why sports betting should be legal.

“Because I have common sense,” he said in answer to a question from the American Gaming Association’s Sara Slane, per CDC Gaming Reports. “I live in a state (Connecticut) where I can buy lottery tickets at a gas station, go to a casino and play blackjack, but I can’t bet on the Red Sox or the Yankees? People bet. They are adults. I’m in favor of adults doing adult things.”

Van Pelt shared his thoughts on how fast states across the nation would legalize sports betting — “Maybe six months, a year, we’ll get to a point where everyone, even grandma, is out on the dance floor.” And if that would compromise the integrity of games — “You have to be vigilant. You have to be concerned, but you just can’t listen to the conspiracy theorists and the idiots on Twitter”.


Read more Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting & Sports: SVP, G2E & New Mexico’s a ‘Go’  on SportsHandle.

‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 6 Breakdown, KC-NE, LAR-DEN, Big Total to Look Under

The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 6 Breakdown, KC-NE, LAR-DEN, Big Total to Look Under appeared first on SportsHandle.

On The Pro Football Handle, Las Vegas-based sports talk voice Matt Perrault and veteran bookmaker Robert Walker of USBookmaking dive into select NFL games, line movements and bookmaker liabilities, plus greater sports betting topics and stories that may have nothing to do with football. Walker has seen it all behind the counter and Perrault the same from behind the microphone, so they’ll have you prepared for anything.

It’s already NFL Week 6! This week the guys have spent some time soaking up the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) floor, some new sports betting products and also a borderline contentious panel that included an MLB and a gaming association executive.

On the gridiron, some home dogs for your consideration,  first international game of the season. And scoring is up 10 percent over last year with another total in the 60s (!!) in the marquee matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs at Foxboro to face the New England Patriots. Giddy up!

Spotify fans go here to listen.  Time codes for the episode follow below. Your feedback is welcome at @sports_handle.

1:18: The show’s on the road from G2E and the MLB is at the to sell its “integrity fee” or rather by rebranding it as a “royalty.” Sports Handle Editor in Chief Brett Smiley jumps on to discuss public perception of the integrity fee/royalty debate.

9:36: The future of retail and mobile wagering and Nevada’s archaic in-person sign up requirement.

19:40: Philadelphia Eagles -3 at N.Y.Giants — Opened -3 Philly, now at -3 even money. Why move the price not the line?

24:33: L.A. Chargers -1 at Cleveland Browns — Home dogs historically do well or at least have “sharp” bettor backing. Chargers are slight favorites or about a pick ‘em game.

28:03: Seattle Seahawks -3 vs Oakland Raiders (London) — How do international games impact bookmaking? Both teams are desperate and it’s a neutral field.

30:43: Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Dallas Cowboys — The Jags are a juggernaut, but QB Blake Bortles is a singular (and key) fatal flaw.  

33:36: Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 at Cincinnati Bengals — The public is buying into the changes the Steelers made last week and it’s a “show me” game for Cincy to prove if they are one of the best teams in AFC.

37:17: Chicago Bears -3 at Miami Dolphins: What is Miami? At least the Bears are the better team.

39:02: Totals talk: Rarely do NFL totals exceed 60, and scoring is 10 percent higher than the 2017 season. The guys identify a good under bet.

40:53: Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 at New England Patriots — Will the Brady vs. Mahomes showdown live up to the hype? Maybe take the under…

46:11: Los Angeles Rams -7 at Denver Broncos — Broncos or pass…

Have a profitable Week 6, folks. Follow Perrault on Twitter @sportstalkmatt and Walker @robertusfsports.

Thanks for listening and see you back next week, tell a friend, sign up for our newsletter and also check out our Cover City Podcast, featuring sports bettor Eric Rosenthal.


Listen to more episodes of ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 6 Breakdown, KC-NE, LAR-DEN, Big Total to Look Under  on SportsHandle.