The National Football League (NFL) announced Tuesday the appointment of David Highhill as Vice President, General Manager of Sports Betting, the league’s first position solely focused on overseeing its business in the legal sports betting industry.
Highhill has been with the NFL for 10 years. He now moves over from the corporate strategy group, where he led the league’s go-to-market sports betting initiatives. In his new role, he will oversee efforts to protect the integrity of the game from gambling-related harm, advance the league’s brand and reputation, grow the value of the NFL’s data and intellectual property, and drive fan engagement at a global scale.
He will take over his new position in the early stages of the NFL’s pivot to sports betting, as advertisements aired during NFL games for the first time this past season. The appointment also comes as the league forms partnerships with multiple sports betting operators, and official data is being sold to bookmakers in the country.
Highhill discussed the sports betting market in the US following his appointment and said: “It’s a growing market, it’s grown a lot in the last three or four seasons. What’s ahead is the exciting part of the opportunity”.
Even though in 2021 the franchise was granted a sports betting license in Maryland, Highhill stated that he does not foresee the league or teams directly operating a sportsbook. Instead, he assured the NFL is going to focus on serving "fans and the games," ESPN reported.
At the same time, the NFL remains wary of an oversaturation of betting content in its games and acknowledges the fact that a part of its fan base is not interested in betting, and that the activity must be accompanied by responsibility efforts: “Serving fans where they are is very important and that goes right alongside with supporting our relationship with the National Council on Problem Gambling and ensuring that we take a leadership position on problem gambling," Highhill said.