UNITED STATES—The way we consume sports has undergone a significant transformation over the past one decade. The repealing of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in the year 2018, which led to lifting of the ban on sports betting in the US, change things dramatically for the sports industry of the country.
With fantasy sports came a new means of engaging people during the early 80s, and with the launch of NFL’s Red Zone Channel in 2009, everything changed about the way people followed games. Sports betting legalization in the United States completed the transformation in a way. Today, with the availability of popular sportsbooks like Betrivers, things have completely changed with regard to how sports are being covered and broadcasted. Over 20 states of the USA have legalized sports betting in some form or the other, and almost every broadcasting network has an association with a reputed sportsbook today.
Spectators are engaging differently today
With the constantly rising popularity of sports betting, fans are only interested in watching the highlights of the games, to see the section which matters to them the most. They’re only interested in knowing if they were right or wrong about their prediction of Lebron James scoring a certain number of points, who made the first touchdown and the total number of points scored by both the teams. Ratings don’t tell anything about the engagement level of the spectators.
Sports networks have also started giving this new-age fan, who is interested in only specific elements of the game, a new kind of experience. To give you an example, for the XFL broadcasts, a sport which is mostly indulged in for monetary purposes than anything else, ESPN went ahead and displayed the over/under and point spread in its score bug. This is a new way of keeping fans updated about the latest odds, and not just the pregame figures, thus driving up the engagement.
Gamification is another aspect that has been embraced by various teams and networks, enabling fans to take their own picks or answer questions related to the games aired by the network, and be in with a chance to win some money. In fact, gamification is emerging as one of the most powerful means of ensuring that the fans stay tuned to the broadcasts, because of the predictive nature and thrill offered by the betting aspect, without any risk of losing anything of their own. People are able to compete in all the games, even if they are unable to wager money on each of them.
Furthermore, sports have always been capable of creating a social environment, irrespective of whether it is on the couch with some close friends, at the bar or in a park. The activity helps connecting fans with the game in a novel way, and also aids creation of a strong community based on predicting multiple outcomes within one contest. Every consumer today gets the chance of proving their knowledge about the sport and knowing how they fare against their fellow experts and fans.
With the gradually shifting landscape of sports media, it’s important to understand that the spectators haven’t gone anywhere, they only have changed the places where they can be found!