In America, the two largest activities surrounding major sporting events are fantasy football and betting.
With a law change in the US Supreme Court, states are now allowed to decide if they want to make sports betting legal. CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins, said that he estimated an increase of over $15 billion in revenue in the fantasy sports industry alone if a majority of the states legalize sports betting.
In 2015, 25 percent of NFL’s television audience were bettors according to a Nielsen Sports study. When it came to sports coverage, bettors watched twice as much compared to non-bettors. With the legalization of sports betting, these numbers can only rise.
This law change could bring both a positive and negative impact on all major leagues and players with one obvious concern being that professional athletes could fix a game for celebrities and family.
Referees are probably more of a concern when it comes to fixing a game since their pay grade is significantly less than a professional athlete and could be easily manipulated by a monetary payout to throw a game affecting both the athletes and bettors. And imagine the effects it could bring on collegiate sports, athletes will no longer be playing for their school pride anymore but rather an easy way to make a quick buck since they are unpaid players.
Athletes and the leagues must try and keep the integrity of the sport in check and not succumb to outside influences to throw or fix a game. Once leagues figure out a way to get part of the profit and keep the game fair, they will be all in for sports betting.
Teams are even discussing whether to bet on games within their stadiums at booths, on team apps and/or attached to game streaming. These additions though risky, because they could receive backlash of creating a culture of gambling addicts, could make them tens to hundreds of billions of dollars.
Esports has grown to where fantasy leagues and betting are infiltrating the video game sector. The livestreaming platform Twitch, in 2017 had 2.2 million unique streamers with over 292 billion minutes watched.
Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Shaquille O’Neal have invested in esports. In 2015, Kutcher invested in Unikrn, a real time betting platform for gaming. With the legalization of sports betting, Unikrn will become more popular among bettors throughout the United States, in turn helping celebrity investors like Kutcher.
Esports is a sporting segment that only continues to grow and gain popularity among millennials. By the 2022 Asian Games, esports will become a medal event raising more awareness and creating new influencers and celebrities among the younger generations.
Even with all the views esports receives, this segment of marketing is only now being tapped into. Since esports is still progressing in popularity, marketers should take the risk and market on this gaming platform.
photo credit: Matthew King (Flickr)