Vince DiGirolamo
Vince joined Mintel in May 2019, overseeing the US Reports Finance, Auto, Retail, and eCommerce categories. He comes from an agency background where he specialized in brand strategy and consumer research (often using Mintel as a primary resource). He has a passion for understanding how consumers think, feel, and behave - and working to help brands connect with them. Vince holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.

As the World Series gets underway next week, sports fans are in the middle of one of the busiest times of the year: football, baseball, hockey and basketball are all in action at the professional level. It’s a rich time for sports fans, and an even richer time for brands who can capitalize. 

Amazon is one of the bigger brands who’s cashed in recently, having purchased the rights to “Thursday Night Football.” Their inaugural broadcast attracted more new subscribers than any three-hour period in Amazon’s history. But for companies that can’t afford a $1 billion buy in, sports betting is a growing market rich with opportunities. 

Sports betting behavior increases; drives interest in following sports

The sports betting industry is continuing to grow, changing the way consumers follow and engage with sports. As of August 2022, sports betting is legal in 37 states up from 21 in 2020. The total gambling market is expected to grow 21% from 2022-27. 

As sports betting becomes legal in more states, the industry will see further acceptance from key audiences, such as women and multicultural consumers, as well as from media networks through increased content and coverage.

Betting interest levels across sports signals growth potential

The opportunity for sports betting extends well beyond the big four US sports. There is opportunity to drive betting behavior in all sports across genders and age ranges. Interest in betting in the future is higher than any previous betting behavior across sports. Consumers are more open to and interested in betting creates an opportunity for platforms, networks and sports leagues to engage with them with content and offers that drive this behavior.

Off-season engagement, sports betting, fantasy football provides growth opportunities

Professional football has the highest level of betting interest overall, with more than three quarters of potential bettors being interested in doing so. The popularity of football and fans’ desire to keep up with their favorite players and teams has made it a yearlong sport: 42% of fans keep up with football news during the off-season. And it’s not just the local teams – nearly half of NFL football fans follow a team that’s not representative of where they currently live. And fans’ increased reliance on digital media has driven the NFL, teams, players and sponsors to social media to cultivate engagements beyond traditional media platforms.

Source: CNN Twitter post – Fantasy Football Industry, 2022

Fanatics has entered the sports betting chat

The well-known sports merchandise company is looking to expand its offering to include sports betting as part of its long-term vision to become a global digital platform for sports. In doing so, Fanatics will look to become a “one-stop shop” for sports fans  offering the ability to buy merchandise, trading cards and digital-only content and place bets. This approach is not only strategic in that it taps into the growing sports betting market, but it also creates massive opportunities for cross-selling among its customer base. Fanatics can look to drive sports betting among those consumers buying merchandise, and vice versa. Not to mention, this also creates an opportunity to appeal to consumers’ desire for rewards when sports betting.

Source:Twitter

Top sports betting platforms aim to grow awareness with varying ad strategies

Moving forward, the battle for acquisition and retention will continue to be a very competitive playing field, as platforms across the industry look to expand their customer bases and steal share from each other. Mintel’s analysis of Pathmatics data from 2018 through 2022 shows the top sports betting platforms are taking varying approaches with digital advertising. DraftKings is primarily spending on desktop display, whereas FanDuel is spending on desktop video and Caesars is taking a social-first approach. 

What We Think 

  • Sports betting is on the rise and is expected to only increase moving forward. Nearly one third of adults of legal gambling age have bet on sports in the past year. As sports betting becomes legalized in more states, new users will enter the market, adding to revenue growth. Further, as related sports betting content becomes more available and improved, the industry will benefit from continued high interest levels from consumers.
  • Moving forward, sports betting is going to become more and more integrated into the overall sports experience. Consumers, even those that don’t participate personally, will come to view this as a part of the offering – whether it be attending a game in-person or following the action another way. As highlighted by the Mintel Trend Driver Experiences, consumers seek discovery and stimulation in their lives – and sports betting certainly provides this.
  • As the sports betting industry continues to evolve, consumers will have new and improved ways to partake in sports betting. In-stadium experiences, real-time betting, in-app streaming and cross-category partnerships are just some of the ways the industry is changing to provide additional and enhanced experiences. As acquisition and retention remain top priorities for sports betting firms, creating a superior offering and enjoyable user experience will be more impactful in the long run than a heavy advertising blitz.