Could Sports Betting Save Restaurants ー and the NFL?

August 10, 2018

By Justin Chermol

The owners at Buffalo Wild Wings may have found a way to boost the sales of chicken wings and beer during the upcoming football season by having a legal sports book in its restaurants.

Jon Taffer, the host of "Bar Rescue" on Paramount Network, said the introduction of legal sports betting could save the food and beverage service industry ー and hike ever-plummeting NFL viewership.

"The fringe fans that sort of like football will bet two dollars. Suddenly, they're involved," Taffer said Friday in an interview on Cheddar. "It's an opportunity to involve fans more, but also pull in fringe fans through what I am going to call nominal betting."

Taffer, a consultant for struggling bars and restaurants, said younger fans are often more frugal and, generally speaking, choose to stay home. Overall, viewership of live sports is down. The NFL, which continually ranks as the most viewed sport in the United States, posted a 10 percent decline in viewership from the 2017 to 2018 season.

Like restaurants, broadcast networks and sports leagues struggle to keep fans engaged.

On Thursday, Buffalo Wild Wings, the largest sports-bar chain in the country, announced it's "actively exploring" sports betting in its restaurants. This move follows a Supreme Court decision that paved the way for states to adopt legal sports betting in May. Delaware, New Jersey, and Louisiana have already done so.

Buffalo Wild Wings could become an accessible location for fans to eat, drink ー and bet ー in states that allow it.

And just as people don't travel to Las Vegas for sports betting, Taffer, a Vegas-native said, "you don't just go to a sports-bar to watch the game, I go to be with my buddies. I go to hang together. I go because you have good food. I go to have a great time."

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