Disruption Drives the NFL to Gamble — Or How to Kill a Sacred Cow in 3 Easy Steps
At the owner meetings, the NFL is hearing all sides of the story, especially ways gambling has been incorporated into sports leagues throughout the world. One of the big takeaways is that traditional points-spread betting doesn't present much opportunity. But prop bets (betting on individual evens, like whether or not they'll kick a field goal on this drive) can be very lucrative, and in-game prop bets could help engage the active-viewing audience who watches with phones in hand whether they're at home or in the stadium. It's considered an open secret that most of those (us) fantasy football players would rather be placing money bets.
Once you realize disruption is coming, you need to figure out what you want the post-disruption future to look like and move to make that the reality. Taxi companies didn't see the business opportunity of mobile apps, so Uber ate their lunch.
The NFL doesn't intend to be Ubered, so he owners are looking very carefully at the ways this change could best benefit them. You shouldn't let yourself be Ubered, either, but recognize that this level of investigation is needed to figure out where your real opportunities lie.
3. Choose Your New Cows
You don't stumble into the promised land. Once you see disruption coming and identify the opportunities, you need to make change happen.
If the NFL decides to cozy up to gambling, it's going to mean new apps need to be built, new partnerships need to be made, new brand messaging needs to be developed ... Any response to disruption is going to be a big endeavor. It's going to be disrupting in its own right.
It will take clarity and vision to bring your response into reality, the same kind of clarity and vision that elevated the sacred calf in the first place.
When leagues distanced themselves from gambling, they did it for the integrity of the game. If they get back in bed with gambling, they'll need a new set of aligning principals. The new sacred cows will most likely be named something like "customer experience" or "giving millennials what they want," but they'll be identified and deified as necessary to make this happen.
Whatever your new aligning principal is, be sure its a vision and message you can align the company behind. Because when you slaughter a sacred cow, it takes more than hamburgers to get your congregation back on track.