The fledgling football league that's starting with a team in San Antonio faces an uphill battle, so they're going all in on gambling, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Alliance Of American Football is teaming up with MGM casinos to create an app that allows fans to watch a game on their phone or television while simultaneously placing wagers on the same screen, ESPN reports.
Matt Huml, assistant professor of sport management at Texas Tech, says the move to embrace the gambling community instead of shunning it like most major leagues should pay dividends.
"This could be a great starting point for AAF to get greater publicity and to get more people interested," he says.
The AAF will be competing for eyes with other established sports leagues, so Huml says they need to do something to separate them from the pack. Gamblers may not be familiar with the teams, but they know the sport, and he says that could be enough to generate buzz.
"Trying to find a way to brake through is really tough, so yea, I think this is going to be a piece to help them."
ESPN reports that the gambling app will go deeper that just allowing fans to place bets on who scores touchdowns and field goals.
The plan is to put wearable devices on the players that track biometrics.
League co-founder Charlie Ebersol tells ESPN that the data will be used to better assess odds for in-game betting.
"We'll collect the data and then be able to have the algorithm sort out what is relevant," Ebersol said, giving an example of a quarterback's greater chance of throwing an interception based on a certain amount of ball speed on his throws.
There are also reports that the league will track which players get bet on the most, and those players could receive a piece of the action.
The app is only available legally in Nevada and New Jersey, because those are the only states that have gotten into sports gambling after the Supreme Court reversal of PASPA in May.
It's likely that legalized sports betting will be a hot topic when the Texas legislature gets back to work in January.