If you’ve yet to notice, ESPN has seemed to embrace the gambling side of sports recently. Their football broadcasts now often incorporate betting lines and spreads and, lately, it’s impossible to go one commercial break on the network without seeing an advertisement from a daily fantasy site like DraftKings or FanDuel.
Last night on Scott Van Pelt’s new late-night SportsCenter show, which often includes a heavy dose of gambling discussion, the anchor used more than two minutes of airtime to discuss his thoughts on daily fantasy leagues and, specifically, the absurdity behind the idea that they’re not technically “gambling.” SVP goes out of his way to clarify that he’s a fan of daily fantasy leagues, but he just doesn’t understand the purported disconnect between daily leagues and gambling. And he makes some really good points.
“Why do you think that there’s a distinction made from traditional fantasy sports that here there’s a daily winner as opposed to seasonally? Because, just like betting on a game, there’s a payable outcome at the end of the day’s action.”
While Van Pelt does a good job delivering a pretty compelling argument, it’s interesting that ESPN allowed him the editorial freedom to do so. The network, which has often made conscious attempts to steer clear of programming that potentially hurts their partners, is currently raking in advertising dollars from these daily fantasy leagues. ESPN and DraftKings even have an official partnership. Knowing how careful Bristol is at times, it seems odd they would allow SVP to call out an industry that has such a big hand in the network’s advertising at the moment.
Regardless, this seems like a discussion that needed to be brought up eventually, and Van Pelt did it in a pretty fantastic fashion, so credit goes to him for that.
[Via Awful Announcing]