If you’re a sports fan, you’re no stranger to debates.
The Raptors have the best home advantage in the NBA. Auston Matthews scores most of his early goals. Scottie Scheffler will bogey the 12th hole at Augusta on Sunday.
These are the types of opinions that could only be discussed anecdotally in the past. But sports betting, which entered the Ontario arena legally last week, aims to facilitate those debates with more information.
Dale Hooper, managing director of online gaming site FanDuel in Canada, said his goal was to help create content and generate stories for sports fans.
Vijay Setlur, professor of marketing at York University’s business school, added what Hooper didn’t: The purpose of this extra information is to convert fans into players.
“He’s right about the increased storytelling that improves fan engagement. But there’s no certainty that will lead to the conversion they’re looking to achieve,” Setlur said.
Hooper said the information enriches the experience for fans whether or not there is money involved.
“All these conversations of Auston Matthews on his way to 60 goals, it’s really interesting. Where does he score them from? When in the game does he score them? What’s the score when he scores those goals? If we can tell those stories, you don’t have to be a gambler to enhance the gaming experience,” Hooper said.
The evolution of the fan experience
FanDuel recently signed partnership deals with the NHL and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which owns the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Argonauts, Marlies and TFC. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has also signed an agreement with the NHL, as has PokerStars.
As more teams and leagues purchase sportsbooks, the fan experience is sure to evolve. The common goal of the sport and its betting industry is to keep more people watching longer, and therefore spending more money – through ticket sales, increased ratings, merchandise and more. A Deloitte Canada report suggested the industry could grow from $500 million to $28 billion within five years of nationwide legalization.
Where sportsbooks believe they can change the game is by keeping fans engaged beyond wins and losses. Bets such as over/unders (the total runs, runs, or goals in a game) and spreads (such as the Jays being favored by 1.5 runs in a certain game) raise the stakes even in games where the winner seems irrelevant or quickly determined.
Richard Schwartz, CEO of online gambling site BetRivers, said in-play betting is the next frontier.
“It’s an area where we’ve really seen very strong growth in the US, where it started when the market opened at 20%. And now most days over 50% betting are in-play bets during the game or between the whistle,” Schwartz told CBC Sports.
The simplest example of an in-play bet might come at halftime of a basketball game, if you think the losing team will come back to win in the last two quarters.
By partnering with the NHL and MLSE, FanDuel says it wants to arm fans with the kind of data to form that kind of opinion. Inevitably, this will lead to a debate with friends and family. It will also provide additional color for broadcast which can provide live betting odds.
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There is another element of conversion, which did not gain as much publicity last week: online casinos, offering slot machines and card games.
Schwartz said nearly 90% of BetRivers’ betting volume in Ontario is in the casino.
“You hear a lot more about sports betting. But casinos are really where the revenue should be not only in Ontario, but we’ve seen the same thing in every state in the US as well,” he said.
Given that many Ontarians bet on the unregulated gray market prior to last week, there are three audiences that sports betting, leagues, teams and networks should cater to: serious bettors, casual bettors and non-bettors.
FanDuel is also a partner of TSN. Sportsnet, meanwhile, doesn’t have an official partnership, but recently launched its own vertical called SN Bets. The goal of these networks will be to add enough betting information to their broadcasts to appease the first two audiences, but not so much as to alienate the third.
You may have already noticed the recent flurry of sports betting commercials on television. But Setlur expects the networks to find a happy medium between the three audiences.
“As long as they continue to think about the consumer, I don’t think there will be any problems because knowing what the consumer wants and delivering it is paramount for them,” Setlur said. “And the last thing they want to do is turn people off and get them to cancel their cable subscription or cancel their streaming service subscription.”
Demographically, Setlur said sports betting will appeal to Gen Z and a younger generation of sports fans whose interests differ from those who came before them.
The gamification of sports that the game offers through in-play betting helps attract the attention of younger audiences who might not interact much with a sport like baseball otherwise.
“In this hyper-competitive attention economy we live in, it’s so important that we deliver as much value as quickly as possible to consumers so they see the value, stick with us, and stay with us. become consumers in the future,” Setlur said of the mindset of sports betting players.
With its introduction to the Canadian market, Hooper said FanDuel plans to add more hockey betting options. While there are many opportunities in basketball betting, hockey is relatively untapped.
Further in the future, the experience in the arena could also change, whether with a gambling hall or the ability to bet whether every pitch in a baseball game, for example, will be a ball or a strike. .
The sports betting industry is here to stay.
The sporting experience, for better or for worse, will never be the same.