In the latest example of leagues fully embracing the widening world of legal sports betting in the United States, MLB has partnered with The Action Network on a content and data deal.
The partnership, reported by Axios and confirmed by the Action Network, will see Action Network talent and content appearing across MLB digital platforms.
Via the Action Network:
Later this month, we’ll start providing content to MLB to help service fans and bettors already using MLB’s platforms.
The deal will feature three components — written content, live shows, and integration between Action’s talent and data and MLB’s existing content.
Syndicated, Written Content: Our articles, featuring both actionable betting advice and educational content, will be published on MLB’s digital platforms, including MLB.com.
Live Programming: We’ll produce a weekly 30-minute show called “Payoff Pitch,” with betting analysis and advice for that week’s games. It will feature Action MLB experts Sean Zerillo and Collin Wilson, among others.
Integration: Action Network talent will regularly appear on MLB’s existing shows, including its betting-specific show “Bettor’s Eye.”
MLB has been exploring this space for a while, including with the launch of Bettor’s Eye ahead of the 2021 season. This partnership definitely feels like a win for the Action Network, too; with betting companies like DraftKings and FanDuel both clearly angling to be media companies as well, along with the myriad of other gambling competition springing up all the time and throwing money around.
There is still a bit of weirdness to seeing MLB and other leagues so openly welcoming the rise of gambling, though. Obviously sports betting existed for decades, both legally (in a few places) and illegally (everywhere at all times), but leagues in the past always took quite a stand against it on the surface while reaping the benefits of increased interest.
Now it’s just “Hey, everybody, here’s the line on Cubs-Padres!” splashed all over MLB sites. It’s not wrong, obviously, and it’s not even necessarily hypocritical; it was illegal, now it’s not (or at least now it’s not in a lot of places.)
It’s just still a bit weird, though that feeling will probably go away soon.