Slow TV Signal Still Vexes Super Bowl Viewers and Sports Bettors

More than 100 million are expected to watch Super Bowl 58 on Sunday.

For most, their game will have coursed as a signal from Allegiant Stadium into space, bounced off satellites, been briefly slowed to check for something the Federal Communications Commission found objectionable, and then routed by local cable companies and broadcast affiliates to living rooms and sports bars all around the United States and beyond.

The delay between the obligatory game-changing official decision – hello, James Bradberry – and the beer slam or obscenity in those living rooms and sports bars could be anywhere upwards of 60 seconds.

That may be good news for those experiencing a few extra seconds of peace. But it’s not good for sports bettors wondering why their in-play bets failed. They never had a chance without a delay. Viewers watching on apps have a distinct advantage, but all viewers have the opportunity for the same experience, says Jed Corenthal.

It’s all about latency, the speed with which a real-life event can be transmitted from a field of play to a living room, a screen a half world away.

Phenix Real Time Solutions claims to have the technology to narrow this gap to less than a human can comprehend. They just need more broadcast companies to pay for the service. If so, they’d be following multiple sports betting companies into the future, Corenthal said in an interview with Gaming Today.

slow TV signal
AP Photo: Brant James illustration

How Sportsbooks Can Improve TV Latency

JED CORENTHAL:  I think what will start to happen with the sportsbooks is that those that do show video are beginning to realize that the video is way behind the data, which is what people typically bet on.

But if you show video in your app and show it in sync with your data, that’s kind of in a second, or maybe two behind, you’re going to get a lot more bets because the betting window is going to be able to stay open a hell of a lot longer.

You’re going to get more transactions. You’re going to get more engagement and more bets. It’s a snowball. So, we’re working with one of the more prominent sportsbooks right now. I can’t mention yet who it is, but it’s one of the huge ones.

They’re starting to understand that they have to start showing and streaming more video, and do it themselves rather than rely on somebody else. There’s always who will be the first in some of these areas, and once you have the first, they’re all going to break down. Because once one does it, the others don’t want to be behind.

Sportsbook App Video Isn’t Real-time Without Phenix

JED CORENTHAL:  No, it’s not. So what’s happening is, as an example, Genius Sports launched their BetVision Stream first with the NFL last year on a couple of Sunday night games. … We had somebody in the stadium itself. We wanted to measure the latency, and it varied anywhere from about seven or eight seconds to about 12 or 15 seconds.

It’s better. It’s not 30. If you’re betting, then you don’t even want seven.

Go deeper with the full Playbook Podcast interview. Interview excerpts edited for style and clarity.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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