No New Jersey sports betting operator is better set up to offer National Women’s Soccer League betting than William Hill Sportsbook.
William Hill’s indirect “relationship” with the NWSL is unmatched by any other sportsbook.
Despite that advantage, the brand has no intention of setting up markets for NWSL matches right now.
While there’s still a little time to pivot on this as the next NWSL season doesn’t begin until late next month, the decision has to be disappointing for fans of New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC.
Why William Hill is best suited to offer NWSL betting right now
Early last month, CBS Sports announced a partnership with William Hill. The deal gave CBS access to data about legal wagering while affording William Hill promotional opportunities on CBS media.
On Wednesday, the NWSL announced CBS Sports acquired broadcast rights for the upcoming season. It was a landmark deal for the league, although the sum CBS paid has yet to be disclosed.
Because of these relationships, CBS Sports could add an innovative element to its NWSL broadcasts. Such elements include conversations about odds movement by individuals calling the matches for CBS and overlays of live odds on the broadcast.
Sports fans have already seen such integration during ESPN and Fox Sports broadcasts of XFL games. While revamping the broadcasts of NWSL fixtures to suit gambling interests would be a first for the league, just the availability of legal sports betting on those matches would also break ground.
CBS Sports can’t offer such information in its broadcasts until sportsbooks start posting lines on the matches. At the same time, CBS Sports has a role to play in making this happen as well.
How CBS Sports could facilitate wagering
As CBS effectively acts as a promotional entity for William Hill, it dictates the demand for the sportsbook’s various markets. In turn, that creates supply.
If CBS wanted action on NWSL matches, especially those involving sides that call states with legal sports wagering home, it’s difficult to see William Hill not fulfilling that request. That’s where state governments could lend a hand as well.
Currently, only two of the NWSL’s eight franchises (the Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue FC) play their home matches in states with legal wagering. That number will expand to four, however, when legal sportsbooks launch in North Carolina and Washington state.
Additionally, Kentucky and Maryland are considering legalization. A ninth NWSL franchise will begin to play in Louisville, KY next year.
While the matches will go on without legal wagering on them, the benefit of such action is real. Like how CBS is great advertising for William Hill, William Hill would be a boost to awareness about the NWSL.
Why this would be a win for the NWSL
For the NWSL, this represents a “Catch-22.” William Hill could be holding off due to a perception of low demand for markets on that league right now, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sportsbooks can never truly gauge bettors’ interest in a market unless that market is actually available to customers. Interest moves up and down along with how many promotional resources sportsbooks spend on them as well.
For now, William Hill has chosen not to commit those resources. It hasn’t ruled out doing so in the future, however.
As the league grows, the sportsbook could reverse that decision. The demand of bettors and CBS Sports could also cause William Hill to rethink its course as well.