AAF's Use Of Technology Could Change Sports Betting Landscape
The Alliance of American Football's "long-term business play isn't even based on ticket sales and TV ratings" as much as it is on "sports gambling data and technology," according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. The AAF has the potential to "transform sports gambling, boost sports viewership and even affect other fields such as transportation and medicine." AAF co-Founder & CEO Charlie Ebersol said, "The real place where we make revenue is in the back-end technology and how it can be sold to other partners. A lot of what this business is about is being an iceberg. You see about 10 percent of what the company is above water publicly." Ebersol added that the league plans to spend $500-750M in the next five years to "get off the ground." In order to "help develop the tech," the AAF hired a head engineer who previously worked for Tesla and Lockheed Martin. League investors, which include Silicon Valley VC firms and MGM Resorts Int'l, are "in for the longer game, based largely on developing technology that would help sports gamblers bet on quicker, shorter plays." That kind of "speed is essential for MGM." AAF players are also "wearing technology in games that gather a variety of data" that MGM can then use to "automate instant betting odds" (USA TODAY, 2/15).
MORE THAN A FEEDER: In DC, Matthew Paras wonders if the AAF "wants to be" a "developmental league for the NFL." AAF Head of Football Operations J.K. McKay said that the league "doesn't think of itself solely as a development league." While the league has a partnership with the NFL, McKay said it views itself "more as a complement." However, McKay did not "entirely dismiss a future scenario in which the NFL teams could send prospects or end of the roster talent to develop in the AAF." McKay noted that some NFL teams are "already sending scouts to games." Chargers GM Tom Telesco said that the team will "send representatives from the team's personnel department to watch games" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/15).