Sports Betting &Amp; Streaming: Nhl Bringing Both Worlds Together
Credit: Anthems on Flickr (via Wikimedia Commons)

Thanks to their open-minded policy about gambling, the NHL is bringing streaming to legal sportsbooks in the United States.

Thanks to an agreement with IMG Arena, NHL will stream certain out-of-market games through U.S. partners. The company already has an agreement in place in Europe, where live NHL streaming has been a huge success.

As the report on states, live streaming has proven to drive betting action in European markets.

Changing the sports streaming game

Sure, hockey is really popular North of the Border. However, the U.S. isn’t as keen on the game, widely preferring football, basketball and even baseball instead.

The NHL knows this. Although sports betting is legal on a federal level, it’s up to the individual states to give the green light. Thus far, that’s proven easier said than done in a lot of cases across America.

As streaming and cord-cutting continue to seep into the sports world, betting is going to go hand-in-hand with it. Right now, the NHL streams many games on ESPN+, a service that can be bundled with Disney+ and Hulu.

How convenient it’s going to be, though, to see the game unfolding and throwing some dollar down on it in real time. All in one place. NHL executive vice president of digital media and strategic planning Steve McArdle spoke about the new deal:

“We are excited about the expansion of our international relationship with IMG Arena into the US. […] The NHL has taken a progressive approach to sports betting, and this live game streaming opportunity with IMG Arena provides another innovative touchpoint for fan engagement.”

This is a whole new, untapped revenue stream that’s a win for all parties involved: IMG Arena, the NHL and their teams — and the fans.

Streaming & Betting = Juice for the NHL

Even though hockey is a fast-paced, physically punishing yet finesse game, it doesn’t carry the same weight as football. What better way to gas things up than to filter sports betting into the equation?

Take it from someone with personal experience in the legal gambling state of New Jersey: there’s a little more juice going on if you’ve got some money riding on the game.

Every league needs juice. Certain NBA players are highly visible and become global icons. The NFL is simply the best game going. Major League Baseball hangs on the reputation of “America’s pastime.”

Despite modern hockey’s Canadian origins, it’s popular enough to sustain a quality league, predominantly stateside. The IMG Arena deal is only going to help.

Plus, Canada’s expats in the U.S. can now enjoy their native country’s premier sport in a whole new way. Not often will they see, say, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens or Ottawa Senators in their American TV markets.

That’s all going to change now — and given the other major sports’ to-date reluctance to embrace betting, there’s going to be serious buzz and novelty factor to it all.

Well played, NHL. Well. Played.