Sports Betting and The Future of Audio

By Justin Park, Founder and CEO, QL Gaming Group

Historic Opportunity

Every year brings fresh business opportunities, but we rarely see opportunities of genuinely historic proportions. Right now, however, the sports industry is on the cusp of just such a historic opportunity. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of New Jersey in the case Murphy vs National Collegiate Athletic Association, functionally opening the door to sports betting in the United States. The nation is just beginning to encounter the implications of this momentous ruling.

Now thanks to deregulation and new platforms like FanDuel, Bet MGM, BetRivers and others, betting is easier than ever before. Meanwhile, the global COVID-19 pandemic has driven up digital gaming and gambling interest, accelerating ten years of change into a matter of months. Legalized betting will dramatically alter the landscape for fans, entertainment providers, and any brand invested or even interested in sports enthusiasts. Through partnerships with BetQL and mobile betting operators, Audacy is the initial audio-first company to recognize and seize this moment.

Anyone who doubts the magnitude of the sports betting industry’s potential need only look to the United Kingdom. There, the pendulum started to swing in 2005. Now, gambling generates over 14 billion GBP a year.1 The US, which already sees $150 billion spent via offshore sportsbooks, has a GDP seven times that of the UK.2 It is not an exaggeration to say that a multi-hundred billion dollar industry is sprouting in the United States right this minute.

An Enhanced Experience for Fans

For these impressive projections to be realized, this nascent industry will need to focus on the people who stand to benefit the most from sports betting: the fans. From the diehard enthusiast to the casual follower, anyone who enjoys sports stands to have their fandom enhanced. Not only does sports betting offer a fun new way to participate in sports generally, but it also incentivizes people to learn about new dimensions of whatever game they follow, deepening their understanding and appreciation. That’s a big part of why I founded BetQL, which provides up-to-date data-driven insights on sports betting, and why we partnered with Audacy to launch the BetQL Audio Network to deliver those insights all over the country. By helping people become better bettors, we help them grow closer to the game.

Betting education doesn’t only benefit fans, though. It’s a huge opportunity for the sports entertainment companies as well. First and foremost, more engaged fanbases are obviously good for anyone in the sports industry, whether they represent a franchise or an entertainment network. Sports betting will undoubtedly increase interest in regular season games, which typically struggle with lower ratings compared with post-season match-ups and tournaments. Instead of tuning into the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl, fans will have new motivations to follow games that provide interesting betting opportunities. To better educate fans and invigorate sports with a new perspective, the industry will need to rethink how it covers sports. There is so much room for innovation in this area. The BetQL Audio Network, a cutting-edge example of the rising world of “wagertainment”, was founded in this spirit. We’re creating new ways to engage with sport, a rich, essential part of American culture.

Advertiser Opportunities In Sports & Sports Betting

However, one should also recognize that the legalization of sports gambling in the United States has opportunities that go far beyond sports. While betting has appeal for everyone, it is probably not a surprise to hear that it appeals most strongly to the key demographic of men ages 25 to 44. Betting resources and online platforms that enable sports betting provide a valuable new point of contact between listeners and advertisers. Brands will have a new way to deliver messaging to this critical, rapidly growing audience. The BetQL Audio Network is built to capitalize on this. Listeners have known and trusted Audacy affiliates for years and will eagerly embrace this new facet of sports culture. The vast network of deep, local relationships offers a strong framework to engage bettors. Audacy stations already reach nearly 5 millions sports bettors each week. And while sports stations boast the highest concentration of bettors, these listeners are multi-faceted, and tune in across genres – sports bettors are 59% more likely to be an Audacy Alternative station fan and 49% more likely to tune into News and Talk stations.3

This industry won’t flourish overnight. A betting industry only thrives when bettors can act intelligently and responsibly. Or, put differently, people only bet when they can be confident in their ability to bet safely and correctly — when they feel like they can win. That’s why the BetQL Audio Network has such an important role to play in the months and years ahead. We’re positioned to educate millions of Americans about this untapped way to enjoy sports, and, in turn, drive sports and audio forward together.

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1 “The UK Online Gambling Industry: A Look at the Numbers.” Business First, November 2020.
2 “The Economic Impact of Online Sports Betting in the USA.” Econotimes, January 2020.
3 Nielsen Scarborough, Market/Release: Scarborough National Database 2020 Release, Jan 2019 – May 2020

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