America’s pastime returns
Football and betting; what a combination, all across the nation!
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Good morning, all. Here is hoping your week got off to a great start.
As another football season kicks off, make no mistake about it, watching football is "America's Pastime." Last Thursday night's NFL season opener between Tom Brady and his defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs and "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys, brought in 26 million viewers on NBC and other platforms. These days we need to include "other" platforms because we now consume our content on television, via streaming, over our smartphones, etc.
Regardless of the digital world in which we live, football is drawing massive audiences. In comparison, last year's World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays averaged under 10 million viewers.
College football ratings for the new season are also going through the roof. And why shouldn't they? Whether it's Oregon upsetting the Buckeyes at Ohio State or Michigan throttling Washington in Ann Arbor, watching stadiums filled with over 100,000 fans translates to must see TV. As another football season kicks off, we are once again reminded that when it comes to sports in the USA, football is king and every other sport is tied for second.
Did you bet on the game?
One of the reasons football has been popular for years is the amount of wagering on the sport, most of it illegal. It is why baseball, basketball, hockey and governments want in on the action. A vested interest in the game, i.e. a legal bet, translates to higher ratings and more revenue for the sport, sportsbooks and state governments. Don't think so? Check out the action, following the first week of the NFL season, not counting the Monday night game.
According to Front Office Sports, legal sports betting on NFL games had a record weekend with 58.2 million online sports betting wagers placed in the U.S. That's an increase of 126% from the previous year. Keep in mind, only 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized betting. Wait until the other states get on board, like a populated, sports-crazed state such as New York. Can you say Cha-ching?
It doesn't matter if betting raises doubt and opens up the integrity of sports to even more scrutinization. It doesn't matter that NFL telecasts are now rife with ads about betting on the games or that broadcasters talk about the line on the game. It's all about the money. This weekend's action on the NFL is exhibit A. Perhaps it is fitting that the first Monday Night Football game of the season emanated from Las Vegas.
September 10, 1961
Sixty years ago, the New York Yankees hosted the Cleveland Indians in a doubleheader. The season was entering the home stretch. Although the Yankees had the American League pennant all but clinched, the focus was on whether Roger Maris and/or Mickey Mantle would break the single-season home run record of 60 set by Babe Ruth in 1927
On a hot, steamy Sunday afternoon, more than 57,000 people attended the twin bill at Yankee Stadium. What they saw was a wild doubleheader, that included Cleveland outfielder and Waterbury, CT native Jimmy Piersall, getting attacked by fans and fighting back, and a Stadium crowd that erupted in mass protest in the second game. You can read about the games on my website. Let's just say if the doubleheader was played today, with sports talk radio and the sports media permeating all communication platforms, they would be talking about this day for months.
Speaking of '61
Speaking of that 1961 season, I published my second to last episode of that historic year on my podcast Baseball Sixty One. Enjoy!
That it is for this week. As always, thank you for your support and have a terrific week.