iGaming Sector's Best Scenario: Some College Football in Both Fall and Spring

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:

We have had bookmakers across the board suggest early on that the Ivy League playing college football in the spring would be ideal. 

The Ivy League, you may recall, was the first to announce the postponement of college football due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

That move went over like a fart in church for the sport itself.  Yet sportsbook operators were already beginning to lick their chops.

"I love it!" one proclaimed to Gambling911.com.

The option, yet to be decided, is not just good for the books but likely a smart move for the NCAA and schools as it would draw a larger audience.  Potentially we could see some primetime exposure as well.

During the early stages of the global pandemic, sportsbooks the world over were forced to rely heavily on their online casino platforms.  Sites like igamingsearch.com and others proclaimed that Web casinos flourished during the height of the pandemic as a result of folks being forced to stay home and work remotely.  No prying eyes from the boss.

But online casinos alone won't help a sportsbook get through prolonged periods without sports.  Russian table tennis proved that individuals are willing to bet on anything that involves a living thing, be it person or animal, if nothing else is available. 

Eventually the UFC, golf, NBA, NHL, NASCAR all found ways to play during the pandemic.  The verdict is still out on Major League Baseball.  What transpires with the NFL remains to be seen.

Spreading College Football Across Two Seasons

The Mid-American Conference became the first "relevant" conference to cancel its fall football program over the weekend.  That move is likely to result in a domino effect as the Big 10 Presidents called an emergency meeting one day later in an effort to guage sentiment among the Power 5 teams.

The MAC, which only had one of its teams end 2019 with a winning record, has also stated it would like to play games in the spring.

One Power 5 AD commented: “Everyone understands the financial implications without a football season, but will the other conference presidents want to take the chance of something happening on campus — [like] a major COVID outbreak that shuts down the football program and the campus? That would be a major PR hit and then there’s the liability concerns.

“Who knows? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”

Big 10 Set to Follow?

The Mid-American Conference playing in the spring will draw the attention of bettors, thus providing a wagering opportunity that previously did not exist.  But the Big 10 with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State playing in the spring would translate into a gold mine of sorts for sportsbooks.  This is especially true if the SEC, Big 12 and ACC opt to still play in the fall.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is said to be a proponent of moving the 2020 football season to the spring semester.

The concept is easier said than done.

Inclement weather and players opting out of the season in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft are among the obstacles that stand in the way.  Not to mention, players would only have a short respite before having to return in the fall.   

This remains the more likely scenario for a handful of leagues nevertheless.  Year round football is music to the ears of any sportsbook operator worth their salt.

“I think we need to be prepared to do it, and I think it should be viewed as a viable option,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN. “We’re going to learn so much from the NBA and NHL and Major League Baseball in the next few weeks, and if, for example, those efforts go poorly, it’s probably going to be a really critical data point for us, and we’ll argue for delay. If that occurs, I think you’ve gotta be open to the spring.”

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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