Despite decades of steadfast opposition to gambling, US sports leagues now seek a role as primary stakeholders in legal sports betting. They also seek to profit from the new industry, ideally via an integrity fee on every wager placed. To achieve those goals, they are embracing official data mandates as the preferred mechanism.

Until recently, there was a distinct line between sports media and gambling, with commentators cheekily referencing gambling odds and making picks on over/unders and moneylines. But the lines have blurred considerably as gambling has become more popular and as sportsbooks have embraced gambling as part of their marketing strategy.

While the broader sports media landscape has shifted, many college teams have resisted partnerships with sportsbooks. But as legal, regulated sports betting has expanded across the country, more teams are becoming comfortable with these arrangements, and some have even struck deals with ESPN.

Amid the debate over integrity fees, one of the more contentious issues in US sports betting is the role of official league data. While lawmakers impose official data mandates, the utility and reliability of that data remain in question. And mandating its use artificially restricts the market by forcing operators into commercial agreements with the leagues and granting them a data monopoly. While distributors are not changing pricing based on these mandates, they have privately suggested they may reevaluate that position should they become more widespread.