The National Football League will no longer shy away from sports betting after the organization hired its first dedicated official to represent the NFL in the industry. David Highhill joined on Tuesday as the NFL’s new VP and general manager of sports betting. With this appointment, one of America’s top-grossing sports is officially in the sports betting game.
Sports Gambling Becomes More Important to NFL
Highhill will be directly responsible for the NFL as part of the regulated sports gambling market in the United States. He has been with the organization for more than 10 years and has covered multiple roles, including corporate strategy. As such, he has already worked and made decisions regarding the league’s future in relation to the sports betting industry.
Part of his new responsibilities will include making sure that the NFL protects its integrity by guaranteeing fair games that are free of manipulation. He will also have the much tougher job to ensure that gambling-related harm is addressed, which will in turn help the league preserve its reputation and values.
Highhill will further seek to make sure that the league is harnessing greater value out of its intellectual property and data, its most valuable asset to date. The backdrop of the events in which his appointment is coming is crystal clear today. Since 2018, sports gambling has been legal in the United States.
Nearly all major leagues, including the NFL, had an objection to this move, citing a number of concerns that have since been put aside. Rather, the NFL and other sports competitions and bodies are actively seeking to embrace sports betting and what it can do for them.
The Right Person for the Job
More than 30 states and the District of Columbia now have sports gambling. Commenting on his appointment and the importance of sports gambling in the US, Highhill tersely explained:
It’s a growing market, it’s grown a lot in the last three or four seasons. What’s ahead is the exciting part of the opportunity.NFL’s new VP and general manager of sports betting, David Highhill
The NFL is not shy about its own ties to the gambling sector, and has already partnered up with a number of entities that are directly involved with the gambling sector. The NFL data is being sold to sportsbooks as well as companies such as Genius Sports, which are working to make sure that they can leverage it with global audiences.
The NFL controls a 7.7% share in Genius Sports. He reiterated that tackling problem gambling would be one of the priorities of his stint as well:
So serving fans where they are is very important and that goes right alongside with supporting our relationship with the National Council on Problem Gambling and ensuring that we take a leadership position on problem gambling.NFL’s new VP and general manager of sports betting, David Highhill
But where the NFL would cut the line is whether the league itself would be running a sportsbook after a while. This is an unlikely scenario, Highhill explains. There are other concerns as well. While the current focus is on rapid player acquisition, the oversaturation of gambling products could have adverse effects on the long-term sustainability of the partnerships.
Highhill has already a strategy of how to deliver sports betting content, arguing that there are fans who are very interested and others who are less so.