With the arrival of legal sports betting in Colorado, bettors are looking for legitimate sporting events to wager on and the possible return of popular overseas soccer leagues could undoubtedly fill that void until the MLB and NBA finalize their restart plans.
Established professional soccer leagues in Italy, England, and Germany could be among the first high-profile sports leagues to return from a suspension forced by the Covid-19 crisis, handing the Colorado sports betting market an early boost to their bottom line.
When is Soccer Returning in Europe?
The biggest reason why soccer is poised to return in Europe in the coming weeks is due to money provided by broadcasters and the long-term implications of final standings.
European soccer is distinctly intertwined as the major leagues come together to play the Europa League and Champions League every season. Both tournaments are season-long events that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and are populated with teams that finish high in the previous season’s standings.
As a result of needing to finalize the playing field for the tournaments and cash the checks of broadcasters to make their exorbitant payrolls, the English Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Italy’s Serie A have all floated tentative plans to return to the field.
But even with the return plans of these three big soccer leagues, the fluid decision making process of the Covid-19 response by government leaders makes any roadmap to completing the season a tenuous one at best.
To show how fragile the plan is to play the remainder of these seasons, leaders of the three soccer leagues just have to look to the recent cancellation of the final games of France’s Ligue One.
The league, preparing to return to play games without fans, was shocked when the country’s prime minister, Édouard Phillipe, announced that the government would not allow the season to continue due to risk presented by the pandemic.
Why Is Soccer Returning In Europe But American Sports Remain Suspended?
For the same reasons that France called their primary sports league off, American sport leagues remain cautious to provide a clear plan to return to action.
The number one obstacle for the return of American sports is the safety of players and team personnel. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that leagues might have to skip this season if a threshold of protection can’t be met for those individuals participating in events.
“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” Fauci said. “If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”
But the major leagues, such as the NBA and Major League Baseball, remain hopeful with recent reports suggesting basketball players can return to their team’s facilities to workout in early May and baseball planning for an opening day around the 4th of July.
The main difference between European soccer and American sports leagues could be the accessibility in testing for coronavirus as the United States remains behind most countries in tests per capita among citizens.
When Could the English Premier League Return?
In America, the English Premier League is the most popular overseas soccer league behind the power of teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. One of the big reasons why bettors are so eager to see the league return and complete their 2019-20 season is due to Liverpool’s anticipated championship, their first in 30 years.
According to SportBusiness, last year’s final day of the Premier League season, known as “Championship Sunday,” drew over 2.2 million viewers in the United States as viewers witnessed Manchester City win their second straight title, clipping Liverpool by just one point in the standings.
Pierre Moossa, coordinating producer for NBC Sports’ EPL coverage, told the website, “This was unquestionably a special season…but the support that is building here in the US for the EPL is something I don’t think will be fully appreciated until another generation from now. People that began to watch EPL here as kids are now becoming adults and will soon have families of their own. And the letters we continue to get telling us about how deeply these broadcasts have become part of their families’ lives really tell us something.”
That building fandom in the States is one of the reasons why so many viewers, and bettors, are eager to see the remainder of the season play out on their television screens.
Regardless of Liverpool’s insurmountable 25-point lead over Manchester City this season, there are many juicy storylines to follow including several teams fighting against relegation to the lower level Championship League and those at the top poised to clinch a spot in the Europa and Champions League for the fall.
Premier League leaders have dubbed their return plan as “Project Restart” with the hope that players could return to games held at neutral sites to minimize possible exposure to the coronavirus to players and staff by mid-June.
How Could European Soccer Help Colorado Sportsbooks?
With all major American sports leagues on hiatus, Colorado sportsbooks are looking for sporting events to attract bettor’s attention. Currently, these bookmakers are turning to soccer in Belarus, table tennis in Russia, and eSports tournaments to lure bettors.
The lack of solid attractions is one of the big reasons why bettors are becoming excited about logging onto the numerous Colorado betting apps available and placing a wager on games from popular and well-known soccer leagues such as Serie A, Bundesliga and the EPL.
Bettors and Colorado sportsbooks are especially interested in the English Premier League’s return because there are 92 games that need to be played to complete their season, offering plenty of action for wagers.
While futures bets for the remainder of EPL season won’t likely be taken by local sportsbooks, you can rest assured that gaming companies ready to offer odds and bonuses to Colorado bettors once games restart will include FanDuel, DraftKings, Fox Bet, theScore, and Points Bet.
Over the coming weeks, these major leagues, in concert with governments, should make concrete plans that will give sportsbooks and bettors a clearer picture into when soccer matches will return.