Industry Voices—Waterston: 8 reasons sports betting should be part of your business strategy, if it isn’t already

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Sports betting is a burgeoning industry with the potential to deliver incredible revenue opportunities for stakeholders in the sports, media, technology and gaming industries, and beyond. The State of Sports Betting: New Frontiers, New Technology, and New Audiences, a recent study conducted as a joint effort by Heart+Mind Strategies, which specializes in the gaming space, and Horowitz Research, which specializes in the media space, offers a glimpse into why the odds are in your favor if you wager on sports betting for your business strategy.

  1. The enormous revenue-generating opportunities presented by sports betting are already evident: According to the Legal Sports Report, the total handle generated across all states in which sports betting is legal since 2018 has already reached $22 billion. Sportsbooks have earned $1.5 billion in revenue, while states that have legalized sports betting—which now include 23 states plus Washington, D.C.—have collected over $200 million in tax/state revenue. Of the remaining states, only three—Idaho, Wisconsin and Utah—have not taken steps towards legalization, underscoring the immense growth opportunity sports betting presents.
  2. The sports betting market is poised for tremendous growth: Currently, 14% of U.S. adults 21 and older have placed a sports bet in the past 12 months and another 20% are “potential sports bettors” who are considering entering the sports betting market. Based on an adult 21+ population of 240.4 million (U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 2018 1-Year Estimates), this translates to 33.7 million adults who are current sports bettors and another 48.1 million who are potentials.
  3. Sports bettors are a very appealing and valuable demographic: Sports betting appeals to young, affluent sports fans across all races and ethnicities. In fact, over half (54%) of sports bettors have an annual income of $75K +, compared to 42% of the U.S. population overall, as reported by the Census.
  4. Sports bettors tend to be fans of more sports overall, and heavier viewers of sports, which can help drive MVPD retention: The majority of sports bettors watch at least some events for all 15 sports tested—and at least three in four watch at least some events of the top sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA College Football, NCAA College Basketball). This desire to stay connected to sports correlates with MVPD subscriptions.
  5. Sports betting drives engagement with sports programming, content and information across platforms, which, in turn, can boost ad revenue: Sports bettors are more engaged with sports, with 77% of bettors saying they are “more into sports now that they can bet on them.” With more “skin in the game,” sports bettors are not only more likely to watch the sport (80%), but also more likely to watch news about it (77%), research statistics about it (72%) and follow social media related to it (68%).
  6. Sports betting introduces opportunity for new content development for broadcasters and sports networks: Sports bettors express a great deal of interest in news and commentary focused on sports betting, such as pre-game and post-game segments that offer sports betting analysis and results.
  7. Sports betting can be an additional revenue stream for MVPDs and other content distributors: There is very high interest in sports betting features embedded in cable, satellite or other TV providers’ platforms, including the ability to place a sports bet directly on the TV while watching a game (84% of sports bettors are at least somewhat interested).
  8. Sports betting can help media brands engage more meaningfully with Black, Hispanic, Latino and Asian audiences: Already, Hispanic, Latino and Black audiences are the most likely to be current sports bettors, with about one in five having placed a sports bet in the past 12 months. Asians, on the other hand, are less likely to be sports fans, but those who are fans are more likely to bet. Each of these groups represent opportunities to drive sports betting for different sports including soccer and esports, which are both poised for tremendous growth.


Interested in more data on this subject, as well as more research and consumer insights on the broader streaming television industry? Please register for our virtual StreamTV Summer Research Summit on 6/29-6/30 here, where a collection of top industry analysts will be releasing a treasure trove of exclusive data and forecasts across a wide variety of leading trends in OTT. It's a one of a kind event you won't want to miss. We hope to see you there.

Adriana Waterston is Senior Vice President of Insights and Strategy at Horowitz Research. She is a research junkie with a flair for finding the story behind the statistics, teasing the meaning out of the measurement, and revealing the faces behind the facts.  A seasoned quantitative and qualitative market researcher with expertise on consumers and their attitudes towards their media tools, Adriana has moderated hundreds of groups and conducted in-home ethnographic research on a bevy of topics ranging from advertising and marketing effectiveness; media and entertainment consumption; unmet needs in technology and media; pricing and packaging; travel; customer service satisfaction; lifestyles and family dynamics; and brand/corporate image.

Industry Voices are opinion columns written by outside contributors—often industry experts or analysts—who are invited to the conversation by FierceVideo staff. They do not represent the opinions of FierceVideo.