Sports betting has been a hot topic in the media industry in recent years for good reason. Recent Magid research finds 83% of consumers are likely to watch a game live if they have placed a bet. This follow-on viewing benefit is clearly valuable to broadcast rights holders. As is the opportunity to engage a younger generation who is highly interested in betting in the coveted under 49 demographic.
Sports betting is arguably already changing the way consumers engage with and consume sports in wagering-legalized states, which presents myriad opportunities for media organizations that want in on the action (see my colleague Bill Bird’s post about four distinct strategies we see evolving in the space). And while we’re still in the early days of legalization as it continues to roll out state by state, there is definitely interest from consumers and importantly, broadcast viewers.
I had the pleasure of moderating the Future of Sports Betting in Broadcast Media panel at CES earlier this month, which featured panelists from Sinclair, Sling TV, Yahoo! Sports and VSiN. That lively discussion highlighted a few key opportunities that I see for broadcast in the future of sports betting.
It’s likely that the sports viewing audience will expand alongside legalization, creating a new opportunity for broadcast nets to engage not only with heavy sports bettors but also casual users. As more viewers tune in for live sports, it will provide new content opportunities and ways to drive awareness of other events and programming.
It’s also a chance to revive ratings as it will further position live sports, already a strength for broadcast as it’s frequently the most highly rated programming, in the forefront. Plus, having local experts provide customized experiences and content for a particular fan group is another great way to drive engagement.
Serve up niche content
Broad content doesn’t always equate to broad audience engagement. More often than not, it doesn’t. Consumers have increasingly high expectations that content served up to them matches their specific tastes. Sports betting is an opportunity to attract the attention of a new niche audience for broadcast. In fact, some media organizations are looking at primary and secondary feeds, where they can serve up the live feed of the game with an optional secondary feed, a reimagined digital ecosystem or complementary content on sports betting related to that game.
Media companies who want to find success with sports betting content must have the ability to provide a seamless connection between content experiences. Serving up niche content is a great way to reach sports enthusiasts and gamblers – but you don’t want to alienate other viewers by only providing sports content unique to sports betting alone.
The challenge will be in staying true to the primary event while catering to the sports betting audience – and doing it in a frictionless way.