Reputation Management Expert Weighs In On  ‘Integrity Fee’

Reputation Management Expert Weighs In On ‘Integrity Fee’

April 27, 2018 12:04 PM


No, their multi-billion dollar enterprises are doing well and their overall profiles haven’t suffered repeated NFL-style blemishes, but their attempts at branding in the U.S. sports betting realm have so far proven controversial at best.

Yes, we’re talking about the 1 percent “integrity fee,” because the NBA recently said it “doesn’t call it an integrity fee,” rather they would like it to be known as a “sports betting rights and integrity fee.” Hereinafter were refer to it as The Fee™ and if you’re just joining us, that refers to the 1 percent off-the-top cut the leagues are seeking on legal sports wagers in every state that has or may legalize sports wagering (pending the outcome of the Supreme Court sports betting case).

The Fee™ is a primarily matter of finance — who absorbs this cost? — but also now branding, given the debate over what we’re actually calling it and how it’s perceived by lawmakers and in the court of public opinion. For some guidance on this issue, we’ve turned to Eric Schiffer, entrepreneur, TV personality and chairman of crisis management firm Reputation Management Consultants.

Schiffer did not mince words. For complete context, here is the heart of our conversation about The Fee™ :

Eric Schiffer (ES): How are they defining integrity?

SportsHandle (SH): As for the “integrity” in “betting right and integrity fee,” the leagues want a cut that would amount to potentially billions of dollars a year divvied up, to apply it toward monitoring/investigative services to ensure the “integrity of the game.” Many of these services are already being performed. They’re connecting “integrity” here, suggesting this money is necessary to ensure that games are clean and not compromised.

ES: Okay, it sounds like the single biggest shake down in the history of sports. You can quote me. There already is a requirement from a brand perspective, to ensure that the leagues are not manipulated for the purposes of betting. To suggest that somehow opening up additional monitoring on betting that’s going on already, is going to somehow ensure that there’s less corruption or that any corruption even exists today, is suspicious.

This is a giant shakedown by the leagues. And those in favor of sports betting on a public policy level, should recognize that and if the public is interested and they can motivate the public, that’s what matters here. Because the pressure could be put on lawmakers that are going to make that decision. Or put it up to a vote on an initiative basis.

I think the league is looking for an argument so they can get their cut. But to me, it actually works against the leagues, a perception of brand integrity, to even be involved in betting, to even be taking a piece of it. They should be working on ensuring that there isn’t corruption anyway, which they do. It’s highway robbery, NFL/NBA style.

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