The XFL has long believed sports betting would be a part of its plan for success. A new deal backs up that idea.
The startup football league announced an agreement on Monday with Genius Sports that will help it protect against the threats that come with betting on XFL games.
The league, founded by WWE CEO Vince McMahon, starts play on Feb. 8; televised XFL games will be on ABC, ESPN, Fox and Fox Sports 1.
The basics of the XFL betting deal
The deal is a “comprehensive integrity program” that will help the XFL identify and deal with potential problems that arise from gambling on the league.
“Sports betting is growing rapidly in the US, and we are gearing up to be a good citizen and thoughtful participant in the marketplace,” Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL, said in a press release. “Our alliance with Genius Sports is an important first step and foundational element.”
Genius Sports is a sports data company that collects and distributes statistics and content, including data related to betting. The company works with the NCAA, the NBA and the PGA Tour, among many other leagues around the world.
“The XFL has shown an exemplary commitment to protecting the integrity of its games,” Genius Sports managing director Steven Burton said. “We are proud to partner with such a dynamic league and look forward to helping the XFL benefit from increased fan avidity by engaging with the nascent US sports betting industry.”
So what does the XFL get?
Here’s a rundown of what the deal provides:
- Genius provides monitoring of all pre-game and live betting markets, including alerts and analysis of odds movements.
- At the XFL training camp this month in Houston, players, coaches and officials will go through integrity workshops conducted by Genius. During those sessions, Genius will help educate stakeholders on “best practices to prevent betting-related misconduct.” It will also provide information on how much betting is expected on games and work on processes for reporting and investigating integrity-related issues.
- Genius provides an online portal where staff and officials will be trained on league regulations and “the importance of integrity to the league’s future growth,” according to the XFL.
Betting on the XFL
It’s not 100% clear who will be taking action on XFL games for this season or how much betting there will be. But surely a number of regulated sportsbooks in the many states with legal sports betting will offer wagering, in addition to offshore sportsbooks.
The XFL clearly hopes that betting on the product will help it to succeed, but that concept alone was not enough to help the AAF stay afloat. (Some betting technology even came out of the league, which didn’t even last a full season.)
Will the XFL succeed? That’s far from a certainty, but the fact that it is bankrolling an integrity program is a pretty high level of commitment from the fledgling league on the gambling front.