Now that legal sports betting in Ohio is nearly a reality, experts are starting to take deeper stock of how much money the state stands to produce in wagering revenue. Part of that process entails identifying the professional sports teams who figure to be the biggest draws. And wouldn't you know it, while using franchise valuations as their baseline, the folks over at Forbes have given a blueprint for which organizations will incite the most money in total bets placed per year? The leading candidate in Ohio? The Cleveland Browns of the NFL.
For those plugged into the Ohio sports world, this likely comes as no surprise. Though we don't have estimates on just how much the Browns stand to solicit in total bets, their popularity throughout the state says it all.
But what about the rest of the Ohio sports franchises? The state is home to six flagship teams across the four major North American sporting leagues: Cleveland Browns (NFL), Cincinnati Reds (MLB), Cincinnati Bengals (NFL), and Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Cleveland Guardians (MLB), and Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL). We know the Browns project to reel in the most bets on an annual basis, but who's next?
That's what we're here to find out.
Cleveland Browns will Lead Ohio Sports Betting Revenue
Valued at $2.6 million, with an annual revenue stream approaching $375 million, the Browns lead Ohio sports betting estimates by a fairly wide margin. Not only that, but they also have an unquantifiable element to their statewide interest.
The Browns have been in Cleveland for what feels like eternity, and they have both a rich and infamous history. Historically, they rank among the NFL's flagship franchises. More recently, though, they have been synonymous with a playoff drought they only just ended.
Whether it's a love or hate relationship with betting enthusiasts, it makes sense that the Browns lead the field. The industry of sports betting in the United States is dominated by the NFL, and Cleveland is among the league's most nationally recognized brands.
Can Cincinnati Bengals Catch Cleveland Browns Sports Betting Projections?
As if we needed more evidence the U.S.'s sports betting industry is defined by the NFL, the Bengals are expected to rake in the second largest amount of bets per year. Valued at almost $2.3 billion, they have neither the history nor the fanbase to match the Browns' exposure, but they are on the rise.
That matters. Good teams tend to draw in more betting business than bad ones. And the Bengals, for their part, have a quarterback in Joe Burrow who's quickly becoming a household name.
Coupled with Cincinnati's trip to the AFC Championship in 2022, there's a chance that the Bengals could even rival the Browns' sports betting totals over the next few years.
Cleveland Cavaliers May Be Betting Goldmine
Even with the third-largest valuation among Ohio sports teams, at $1.6 billion, sports betting experts didn't initially have the Cavaliers this high when it first became clear legal sports betting would be arriving in the state.
Rebuilding squads don't incite a ton of interest, and the Cavaliers are only a few years removed from losing both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. However, the Cavs' national profile exploded this past year after they drafted Evan Mobley and on the heels of All-Star appearances from Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen.
Assuming they don't make any changes to the roster, the Cavs are shaping up to be a popular 2022-23 NBA futures bet. That type of stock alone can be worth millions of dollars in preseason wagers.
Cleveland Guardians Prove They Are a Sports Betting Institution
While the popularity of Major League Baseball has taken a hit among younger generations over the past decade or so, the Guardians have largely upheld their interest, even as they've needed to change their name. Their $1.3 billion valuation only explains a part of their sports betting appeal.
Cleveland, in fact, is one of the oldest professional sports franchises in the world—not just in MLB, but the entire globe. The Guardians aren't quite on the same level as the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers, but early estimates at Forbes have them inviting tens of millions of dollars per year in both futures and single-game wagers.
Cincinnati Reds will Still Be Worth Millions in Sports Bets
Ohio is five-for-five when it comes to pro sports franchises projected to eclipse the $10 million marker in total bets.
The Reds don't share the same national popularity as the Guardians, let alone any of the NFL teams, but their fanbase is notoriously loyal. It isn't quite clear whether the novelty of sports betting could eventually wear off, but they are expected to garner closer to $30 million in total wagers if betting goes live throughout the state by the start of 2023.
Columbus Blue Jackets Have Some Work to Do
Not surprisingly, the Blue Jackets aren't forecasted to bring in a ton of betting revenue. Their franchise is worth "only" $475 million, and Ohio isn't historically the most fervent hockey state.
Still, even Columbus is projected to clear the multimillion-dollar marker of total bets. They aren't anticipated to reach $10 million in wagers placed, but they should come pretty close. Monitoring their record during the 2022-23 NHL season will be key. If they're over .500 and in the playoff race, they have a chance to blow their projections out of the water.
When Can Ohioans Start Betting on Their Favorite Sports Teams
If you can't wait to wager on the Cleveland Browns and Ohio's other sports franchises, you're in luck. Our reviews of the top online sportsbooks include operators who are more than willing to let you set up an account right now.
In the event this doesn't fly, government officials throughout Ohio still believe the rollout of legal sports betting inside the state will be completed in time to start the 2022 NFL season.
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