NFL wisely not trying to implement “integrity fee”

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When it comes to legalized sports wagering, the NFL definitely plans to try to squeeze money out of the various states that allow it. However, the NFL won’t be using the goofy “integrity fee” label that has been pursued by other leagues.

As made obvious by Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement from Monday, the NFL will be rooting its lobbying efforts in notions like intellectual property and content creation, for which the NFL surely believes it should be compensated. Ditto for the “official, reliable league data” that the league will want to sell to the various states.

But the cut the NFL gets (or doesn’t) from the states ultimately will be small potatoes in comparison to the filet mignon available elsewhere. The NFL will make the bulk of its money from the increased interest in the sport, the licensing of team names and logos (which will make everything seem more official), the use of team and league website and apps as the conduit for betting, and in-game bets placed both at the stadium and via real-time TV transmissions that eventually remove all lag.

Still, the league will at least try to get a cut from the states that allow gambling. And if the NFL can find a plausible way to demonstrate that the states are getting value in return, that will go a long way toward addressing the obvious concerns triggered by couching the payment in terms of a money-for-nothing notion of integrity, which should exist regardless of any fee.