NBC Sports is launching a daily national radio show focused on sports gambling, the latest media company to push forward on betting coverage as legalized wagering continues to expand.
“The Daily Line,” which debuts Jan. 2, will have a distinctly Washington flavor. It will be broadcast out of NBC Washington’s studio in Bethesda and hosted by longtime local anchor Michael Jenkins, currently the host of “D.C. Sports Live” on NBC Sports Washington, and Tim Murray, a host for SB Nation Radio and the studio host for Navy football, who previously hosted and produced shows for The Team 980.
The new show will touch on the biggest daily sports topics but will focus on their gambling angles, from point spreads to line movements. The hosts will have oddsmakers and sharps as guests, and recap betting results — focusing on noteworthy winning and losing bets. (Such segments will sound familiar to anyone who watches Scott Van Pelt’s “Bad Beats” bit on ESPN.)
“If we hear [Oregon quarterback] Justin Herbert is coming back to play his senior year, what does that do to [Ohio State quarterback] Dwayne Haskins’s chance to be the No. 1 pick or other quarterbacks' chances to get drafted in the first round?” Murray said. “Wherever we can find a line or odds, that’s a segment.”
The show, which will be produced in conjunction with Westwood One, will air from 3-7 Eastern every weekday and will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Radio app, as well as a group of radio affiliates around the country (Oklahoma City and New Orleans are among the largest markets; the show is still looking for a Washington affiliate). At some point next year, “The Daily Line” is expected to be simulcast on some of NBC’s regional sports networks, including in Washington.
In May, the Supreme Court overturned a decades-old law that limited most sports wagering to Nevada and states have since rushed to enact legislation. Earlier this month the D.C. Council voted to legalize sports gambling. In the fall, Rhode Island became the eighth state to accept sports wagers and a report found that nearly $600 million was wagered in New Jersey in the first four-plus months of legalized sports gambling. More states are expected to consider bills next year.
And while the regulation framework remains somewhat murky — Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently introduced a bill that would create federal guidelines for sports betting — there have been plenty of media companies anxious to cover the burgeoning industry.
The Action Network was founded in 2017 to and recently hired sports business reporter Darren Rovell away from ESPN. The Vegas Sports & Information Network broadcasts live from a Las Vegas Casino every day, while Fox Sports 1 airs a 30 minute gambling show every afternoon.
“We have been talking about how we want to engage fans in this space,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures. “I think that there are different ways of covering it, [including] talking to the really hardcore sports bettor, that group that’s betting big dollars. I think that’s what a VSiN might do or an Action Network.”
But Jenkins and Murray both said they want their show to appeal to more casual bettors.
“I don’t think anyone expects me to give a deep dive into my algorithm or spread sheets,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been to Vegas like 15 times. I love to gamble, but I’m not a degenerate gambler. We want to have conversations with the average sports fans.”
Jenkins, who has been with NBC Sports Washington since 2004, has long been among the most memorable (and popular) local sports broadcasters, hosting parties for his own fan club, repeatedly going viral for wacky on-air bits and filling his broadcasts with humor and personality. With Jenkins moving to the new radio show, “D.C. Sports Live” will continue in its current slot on NBC Sports Washington with Travis Thomas and rotating co-hosts until a new full-time co-host is named.
Murray has been working with NBC Sports Washington since August, and will continue as the co-host of its Nationals podcast, “The Racing Presidents.”
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