Insightful media and content enrich wagering.

Since their advent, online wagering service providers around the world have operated mostly independent and distinctly separate from sports media. Operators chose to ‘free ride’ on content produced by other entities, not least mainstream television networks who pay for valuable live broadcast rights.

This market dynamic is fairly well accepted although official league data use agreements have become a special topic of discussion to challenge status quo.

Premier rights owned mostly by leading networks with new entrants in mix. Special rights for wagering operators are relatively minor by comparison to overall value. Source: Activate Media Outlook 2020

In more recent times online sportsbooks have invested in mobile “watch and bet” experiences, serving thousands of live streams on global sports events each year. The value of which is arguably formed by lower tier content from all parts of the world to fill the clock outside of peak periods.

Today, leading operators continue to develop more sophisticated methods including strategic mergers and partnerships with major media entities to enable immersive and exclusive access to premium content.

Source: Activate Media Outlook 2020

Sports bettor journeys have become interwined with media and content touch points supporting their unique personal choices about betting opportunities pre, during and post game.

Bettor decisions at each phase of an events lifecycle can be nuanced due to personal or demographic attributes, game play dimensions and more.

Source: Activate Media Outlook 2020

Different situations, such as time before a game begins and other bettor preferences call upon different types of media and content.

Consumption of wagering and live sports are closely related. As one study by Deloitte highlights, more frequent bettors watch more games with 73 percent of those who bet at least once a week watching compared to an average 56 percent of all bettors.

Source: Deloitte TV Sports Betting

Similarly, an American Gaming Association study found 75% of NFL bettors are more inclined to watch a game they have placed a bet on, while 51% engage with pre game shows and experts analysis when having a bet.

These findings help illustrate the important color provided by data, statistics, and commentary about teams and players from expert game analysts. Live sports television stimulates excitement, anticipation and engagement for fans with skin in the game.

Source: American Gaming Association

Adding more to this, Deloitte also found 78% of men and 64% of women were either much more, or a little more likely to watch a game they had bet on. This figure rose to 85% for 25-34 year old males and 90% for the 18-24 cohort.

Source: Deloitte TV Sports Betting

More men than women still watch sports on TV, with younger audiences less connected to sports, at least via television.

Source: Deloitte TV Sports Betting

Cohorts who bet more than once a week also watch twice as many hours of live sports (20 hours) compared to those who never bet (10 hours).

Source: Deloitte TV Sports Betting

As consumer demand for in play sports betting grows we can expect continued reimagining of how media and content can best enhance game play experiences to inform real time bettor choices.

Activate Media Outlook 2020 propose the future of wagering will involve deep application of statistical data driven views with similarities to financial market multi screen perspectives immersing viewers in comprehensive media and content.

Sport fan and bettor behaviors

Sport fan consumption behaviors play an influential role in shaping future value propositions of wagering operators, especially re-imagining experiences to win over emerging fans.

As one in depth survey by Deloitte’s found from 4,000 sports fans across the US, hometown is the number one determining factor of team loyalty. 40 percent follow a team because of proximity to where they grew up. This finding was fairly consistent between major leagues (NHL 44%; MLB 42%; NFL 39%; NBA 36%; MLS 35%). Current residency (22%), family influence (14%) and recent team performance (10%) were also found to be important drivers in fan loyalty decisions.

A separate finding in the same report showed NBA fans more than other sports were 200% more likely to follow a team because of their favorite player. Visibility on the court, not hidden under helmets and padding, is one aspect of this, so too greater player mobility in modern times can change a fans perception of a team.

On the surface 18-34 year old Americans are less avid and casual traditional sports fans. Digging deeper here and there is evidence of a generational shift in how Millennial fans engage with sport content and their expectations for more personalized experiences.

According to research from Imagen, younger demographics are emerging as their own unique kind of Superfan. Four times as many Gen Z and Millennials watch over three hours of non-live sports content each week compared to Baby Boomers. Even when Gen Z fans do watch live sports content it is unlikely to hold their full attention with 78% engaged with dual screens during a game. Furthermore, this highly connected cohort feel under served in behind scenes footage, match replays, funny clips, match and player statistics.

All of these trends present new opportunities for wagering operators to better connect with and provide content which supports what this new group of sports fans are willing to pay for.

Player propositions rise

Everyone has a favorite sports team but for those of us born after 1980 following your favorite player has become ever more popular. It now matters less which team they play for.

In keeping with this growing trend in sports fan consumption behavior, wagering operators are evolving offerings to expand focus on player props within their product mix.

Reflecting on the last decade in Australian wagering, operators were in a contest among themselves to rapidly extend and lead on depth and breadth of markets.

Today product parity and customer expectations necessitate operators offer access to 200+ markets a match on top tier events pre and in game.

Even though wagering operators offer such depth, most bettors still only engage with a select few headline markets (particularly money line, spread and totals).

Looking ahead, player proposition growth could be different. While other derivative market growth has created an almost endless long tail, overwhelming typically mundane digital channel left hand navigation styles, new bettor behaviors might shift meaningful bet count from headlines markets into player props.

Growth in player statistics embedded into broadcasts, more easily accessible odds modelling capabilities for average bettors and with fans increasingly following players, team based propositions may become less of a default bet choice.

Celebrity status of major league players makes it easy to imagine American sports fans will further encourage growth in demand for innovative player centric propositions.

For wagering operators and first time bettor acquisition, a leading range of player propositions could make all the difference for sign up.

Global growth in player propositions continue strongly with the vast majority of US based sportsbooks recognising the necessitate for their options to serve customer expectations and demand. Points markets are the dominate bet type being offered, for the most part more than 50% of all player props are points derivative markets.

As biometric data evolves and richer statistics emerge we should expect there to be a strong interest from content providers to gamble on every kind of player related metric, This will be a hot topic for sports licensing agreements of the future.

Source: igamingbusiness
Source: igamingbusiness

Fixed odds can return race wagering to growth

Thoroughbred, Trotting and Greyhound racing in the United States have traditionally relied upon shared takeout from parimutuel wagering pool handle. This industry model has been an arrangement in place for most racing jurisdictions all around the world for generations.

In February 2020 Monmouth Park in New Jersey announced they had engaged Australian wagering partners and sought regulatory changes to allow fixed odds wagering on horse racing within the state. If approved, changes could play a major role in the future performance and sustainability of the industry across the country.

A selection of global regions provide case studies where introduction of fixed odds wagering bet types have complimented parimutuel offerings and stimulated sustainable net growth.

In markets of Australia and New Zealand especially, also parts of Europe, fixed odds and parimutuel wagering options have co-existed to fulfill demand growth for two decades.

According to the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) facts and figures, thoroughbred racing handle in Australia and New Zealand has grown by 9.5% and 5.5% CAGR respectively in the 10 year period between 2008 and 2018. Australian racing handle combined across three codes of Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhounds for 2017-18 was $25.8 billion (AUD) up from $11.0 billion in 1992.

In contrast, fragmented parimutuel only markets scattered across 40 authorized jurisdictions in the United States have collectively been flat, 0.04% CAGR from 2008-2018.

In a Wagering and Betting Discussion Paper released by the Office of Liquour, Gaming and Racing figures from Racing Australia’s Fact Book from 2009-10 to 2016-17 show changes in demand from bettors in Victoria, one of Australia’s two largest race wagering regions. Here consumer preferences continue to shift away from parimutuel pools toward fixed odds. Overall total wagering turnover has grown with rapid acceleration of fixed odds outpacing incremental decline of parimutuel trends.

As sports wagering opens up across more of the country, the American racing industry will be well served to leverage insight from the experience in other jurisdictions, such as Australia, to consider how best to meet demands of a future wagering generation here now.

Australian sports wagering has seen annual growth of 23% by comparisons to 3% for racing, even with Federal legislation which makes it illegal for gambling providers to offer online in play sports betting.

Virtual reality partnership extended between NBA and Verizon

Excitement grows in anticipation of the long awaited return of the NBA season today. This is added to by announcement of the leagues marketing partnership extension with Verizon Media’s Yahoo Sports and RYOT a live virtual reality (VR) production company who will be official partner and sponsor of all NBA VR property.

As this NBA season is set to play out in the bubble environment of Orlando Florida’s Disney World arrangements for next season are still yet to be confirmed. Virtual reality is likely to play a big role in the increased demand for unique engagements from at home sports fan and bettor experiences. Yahoo Sportsbook already has a growing presence in the wagering market space. Odds integration on digital assets are supported by powerful partnerships with BetMGM and Stats Perform, a leading sports media tech data company with sophisticated machine learning predictive odds modelling capabilities.

Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act

Wagering on horse and dog races has been legal in Massachusetts since the 1930’s. Traditionally this has been limited, requiring customers to attend physical on-course racetrack venues to access parimutuel or simulcast offerings from off track bookmakers (OTB) venue.

In recent weeks an emergency legislative bill has been drafted H487. The bill first reported from the committee on House Ways and Means on July 24 2020 seeks to enable partnerships for growth and stimulate jobs in the state as a response to pandemic induced economic and employment crisis. Within this bill is a proposal to authorise and regulate sports betting with the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act.

Industry groups have been vocal advocates for the inclusion of sections to legalise sports betting, including major operators DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM and even the local Red Sox.

If approved, the latest version of the bill will enable wagering operators to apply for an initial five year license for $250,000, with a renewal fee of $100,000, a taxation rate of 15% on adjusted revenue and mandates use of official league data for in play wagering on US sports. This is accompanied by a 1% fee for bets placed on sports in Massachusetts state facilities.

Licenses will be issued in three categories. Category one permits an operator to offer mobile, digital and in person wagering. Category two permits sports wagering at race track venues. Category three allows digital only operators to enter the market.

While there are many players vying for position and would be candidates for acquiring licenses, those most likely include the Boston founded Barstool (which Penn National Gaming closed a deal to buy a 36% stake in the company for $163M in January 2020), BetMGM (MGM resorts casino), DraftKings, and FanDuel sportsbooks.