SBJ Early Access: First college sports betting deals signal more are coming

Sportsbooks want to sponsor college programs for the same reason they sponsor pro teams: Because college sports fans, and in this case alumni, are their consumers. As sure as they drink beer and soft drinks, buy cars and choose insurance providers, many place bets.

Six states with Power Five programs have legalized online sports betting -- Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Louisiana, Maryland and New York -- bringing the total to 25 of 65 schools. Ten of 14 Big Ten programs are in legalized states, with Ohio State likely to make it 11 by next fall. There are five from the ACC and Pac-12, three from the SEC and two from the Big 12.

“There is a tremendous amount of wagering interest in the product, and you’ve got rabid bases of alumni and fans around the country,” said Dan Shapiro, chief development officer at Caesars Digital. “In certain parts of the country, we see that college sports is more popular than pro sports. That’s one reason we did the LSU deal. We know how big a deal SEC football is in the South and how big a deal LSU football is in Louisiana.”

Read the full piece from SBJ's Bill King Michael Smith -- which will appear in Monday's print issue -- here.

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