Tony Romo, one of the highest-paid sports broadcasters ever, courtesy of a hefty contract from CBS to call NFL games, is raising concerns about the league’s growing entanglement with gambling.
With an estimated $23.1 billion expected to be wagered on the Super Bowl, the NFL’s decision to hold its marquee event in Las Vegas is reshaping the sports gambling landscape for years to come.
Romo, expressing apprehension about the NFL’s embrace of gambling, reflects on his upbringing, where discussions about lines and odds were non-existent in football. He emphasizes his focus on analyzing game strategies rather than betting angles.
“As soon as you delve into that realm, it feels like you have to excel in two different areas,” Romo told The Athletic. “Now, your commentary can impact people’s lives in some way. It dilutes the purity of the sport.”
His sentiments echo concerns shared by fellow broadcaster Jim Nantz, who acknowledges the growing influence of betting information in sports broadcasts, particularly affecting golf coverage.
While Nantz expresses discomfort with the trend, he recognizes the economic incentives driving the integration of gambling-related content into broadcasts.
Despite these reservations, Romo will team up with Nantz to call CBS’ international broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.
The rise of sports betting, once taboo in professional football, has become increasingly prevalent, fueled by legalization efforts across the United States. However, strict NFL regulations prohibit players from engaging in gambling activities related to the league.
Nevertheless, the NFL finds itself at the epicenter of the burgeoning sports betting industry, commanding significant attention and revenue, with projections indicating continued growth in the years ahead.