You scan your ticket at the door, Section 114 Row 9 Seat 7, your heading to an afternoon baseball game. Now, something is different. You used to arrive in the 1st inning, but now you are 30 minutes early. You head to one of the vendors, and place your order. “One beer, a hot dog, and $100 on the home team”. The vendor hands you the beer, the hot dog, and your betting ticket. Welcome to the future. The way we watch and consume sports is changing.
This is closer to happening then you might believe. Now, the only part of my hypothetically scenario that I don’t think is going to happen is the beer guy won’t be the one giving you the ticket. Rather you will be able to bet the game using your smart phone, an app, or even an electronic screen that dispenses tickets at the stadium. Outside the stadium, there are ample of opportunities to bet on the games and watch in the comfort of your home. Each state will handle it differently, but states will make it convenient. We will have state run shops where you can bet on games, you might be able to go buy a ticket at your local 7-11 (think lotto ticket), or a state-run app where it becomes absolutely on your finger tips to bet. The opportunities are endless. It was announced just last month that Buffalo Wild Wings wants to get in on the fun, and even offer betting inside their restaurants. Imagine you’ll be able to get your 10-piece wings with a side of an over/under. This is happening folks and it’s happening quick.
Let’s take a look at Europe especially the EPL (English Premier League) as a great example of the business around sports is going to be shifting. The EPL has many teams that their main jersey sponsor is a sports betting website. Secondly, around the stadium advertisements of where to bet are right alongside and just as prevalent as beer commercials. Same with television, if you have ever spent any time in Europe and watched a sports match (that’s what they call it.. a match, I like to call it a sports game but whatever). The commercials are just as heavy into the betting as they are into beer and selling items. Why? Because it makes a whole lot of money quick. And at the end of the day sports are a business and this is where it’s going whether you are a fan of it or not.
How is this going to change the way we consume sports? Where do we start? First of all we have already seen a shift in sports lately to team loyalty to player loyalty. Kids growing up now are more a fan of LeBron James or Steph Curry then the team they play for. The back of the jersey matters more than the front of the jersey. Dynamics have shifted.
Arguably, the most popular player in the National Football League is Aaron Rodgers, he plays for the Green Bay Packers. Odell Beckham Jr. who plays in New York, is more popular then the New York Giants themselves. How does this tie into betting on sports? Simply, it means this generation’s “kids” will more likely grow up willing to watch more then just their local sports team and thus, more likely be willing to place bets on any game that happens to be on TV. Interest levels will peak, and more action will occur. We all remember, the fantasy football boom of the last 15-20 years, remember what that did to Football? Everyone had a fantasy team. Why? Because it made them feel part of the action. When you watch a game, and there is something on the line you’re more likely to tune in. And sports betting will do the same to all the major sports, that fantasy football did to football. Don’t agree with me? Let’s bet on it.