TAMPA, Fla. — Sports gambling was already on the rise thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that paved the way for states to legalize it. The pandemic took betting to another level as teams and leagues tried to stave off declines in money and viewership.
Though last year’s empty stadiums didn’t lead to the financial apocalypse teams feared last summer, they still hurt. The NFL’s salary cap fell 8% because of the drop in income. The Rays instituted pay cuts. The Florida Gators reported a $54.5 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year, while USF’s athletic department is down 60 employees.
The financial challenges will not fix themselves.