When the XFL announced it would be coming back, all that was talked about was how it was an attempt at being different than the NFL. It accomplished that with the rules, which look to speed up gameplay. On the field, things will feel different, and so will everything off of it.
In a scoop by Front Office Sports, games on ABC and ESPN will have point spreads and over/under total on the score bug. Additionally, unlike the NFL, the XFL announcers in the booth will be allowed to discuss the gambling metrics as they happen. The score bug will also feature the same elements of a normal football game: score, game clock, timeouts remaining and down.
"The over/under and point spread will be incorporated in our on-screen dashboard for XFL games. When it's appropriate, our announcers will also have conversations around the spread and over-under," said ESPN Senior VP of Production Lee Fitting. "We want to serve the viewer with this information when it feels right."
The idea of the new method of announcing would also include how a scoring situation affects the point spread and over/under. It is similar to how gambling websites, social media and other betting services inform an audience. It can relate to an audience that already gambles on games, without drawing the ire of the head figures, as it does within the NFL.
"We are bringing a spirit of innovation to our game and fan experience, and our television partners share this approach," Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL stated. "We want what our fans want, and many of our fans enjoy legal betting on football. Integrating the point spreads and betting lines into our broadcasts will create a more robust viewing experience that deepens our fan engagement and connectivity ."
Gambling has managed to be a major part of the sports world. New Jersey, the home of the New York Guardians, is the sixth state to authorize wagers on the XFL. The state joins Nevada, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa and Rhode Island. FOS reported that 26 million Americans bet on Super Bowl 54, per the American Gaming Association, with 75% of bettors stating they'd most likely watch a game if they bet on it.
The XFL relaunch begins this Saturday, February 8, with the Seattle Dragons v. DC Defenders at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. The Los Angeles Wildcats and Houston Roughnecks will do battle against one another later that day at 5 p.m. ET.