Sporting Events Are Coming
Sporting events are once again on the rise, with American sports fans expected to spend more than four times as much as they did in 2016 on sports gambling activities, according to a new study published by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s).
The study, “2020 Presidential Politics and Sports: How Sports, Politics, and Advertising Influence One Another”, examines changes in the political landscape and the influence of sports in presidential elections. Based on data drawn from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) American Advertising Association (4A’s) Nielsen Company and The New York Times/Sporting News Trump Win Ratings Database, the study finds that fans have increasingly tuned into the world of sports in the past year, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and a desire to escape the political chaos plaguing the country.
Increased Attention To Detail
As fans have turned to the sports world for distraction during the pandemic, much has changed in the world of sports betting.
Firstly, authorities have cracked down hard on illegal betting during the pandemic, shutting down many sites and individuals. Secondly, the increase in people placing bets on events has changed the way sportsbooks operate. To maintain a good relationship with their customers, many have altered the payouts for certain sports events, increasing the vigorish (a percentage of the bet) to make up for the lower betting volumes.
The need to satisfy customers and remain in business has driven many bookmakers to improve their services and take greater precautions. This has included things like expanded mobile betting, increased detail and transparency in the betting exchange platforms they use, and more protective software and hardware on their networks.
Why Are Fans Increasingly Embracing Sports Gambling?
The study finds that sports fans are increasingly embracing sports gambling because it provides a safer and more reliable way to experience their favorite sports.
American sports fans have grown increasingly wary of going to sports events due to the increased risk of contracting COVID-19, particularly when attending a stadium or arena. The study found that nearly six in ten (57%) American sports fans said they were avoiding going to sporting events because of the pandemic, compared to 45% who cited increased safety concerns and 32% who said they avoided going to athletic events because of the cost.
The poll also examined how much fans were willing to spend on sports gambling activities, with the average respondent saying they would spend more than four times as much (US$113) as they did in 2016 (US$27). As a whole, the sports betting market in the U.S. is worth an estimated US$14 billion. If we take out the COVID-19 related impacts, this figure could be as high as US$18 billion.
The Growth Of Online Sports Betting And Gambling
In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, sports fans are increasingly turning to online betting and gambling platforms for their sports fix.
While the majority of U.S. adults still get their sports fix by watching games on television (68%), nearly four in ten (39%) say they get their sports information from online sources, such as social media and online news sites. One of the primary reasons why they’re turning to these platforms is because it’s a safe way to get their sports fix.
The rise of social media and online news has allowed fans to follow their favorite teams and athletes as well as get up-to-the-minute results and scores via text, email, and other digital means. This has increased the demand for online sports betting and gambling, as more people want to access this information during the course of the game rather than waiting until the end.
The Study’s Major Findings
The study’s biggest finding is that fans are increasing their engagement with sports through gambling activities. While 59% of fans said they followed sports primarily for news and information in 2016, that number has increased to 71% in 2020. At the same time, the number of fans that said they used sports as a way to escape the news dropped from 45% to 34%.
The increase in fans using sports as a way to escape the news may be due to the fact that during the pandemic, the news has steadily piled up, while sporting events and games have largely remained the same. The pandemic also removed many of the traditional ways in which fans got their news, such as going to the movies and attending live events. TV news has also taken a hit, as people have turned off the tube in favor of online sources for news and information.
Similarly, while 56% of fans said they used to get most of their sports information from newspapers, that number has decreased by 21% to 43% since 2016. However, the share of fans that said they got their sports information from word of mouth has increased from 19% to 28%. This can be attributed to the fact that fans have a more intimate relationship with their favorite teams and athletes than they do with newspapers and word of mouth may represent a more genuine connection.
Going forward, the study recommends that sports betting and gambling companies continue innovating and evolving to stay ahead of the curve and satisfy customers with the services they need. To remain relevant to fans, companies should also continue working to strengthen their connections with athletes, teams, and leagues.
More specifically, the study recommends increasing digital engagement and outreach, expanding mobile options and hardware, and providing more information about how bets are evaluated.
Last but not least, the report calls for more research into the effects of sports betting and gambling on fans and society as a whole.