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A safe bet: The merging of broadcast and US betting

Steve Byrd (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The US Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, better known as Paspa, in May 2018 was undoubtedly a landmark moment in US sport.

It lifted the country-wide ban on sports wagering and opened the door to betting on a state-by-state basis, with stakeholders from across various industries and sports speculating on what would come next and who stood to gain the most from America’s latest ‘gold rush’.

In truth, nobody knew at the time exactly what would unfold and even now the situation remains unclear – the granular nature of individual states learning about betting legislation and various political influences both contributing to a somewhat confusing picture.

What is clear is that opportunities are plentiful across the board. Rights-holders, broadcasters, betting operators and fans all stand to benefit, whether that’s financially or from an engagement perspective.

From a broadcast angle, it is regional sports networks within betting-legal territories that have the most clear-cut opportunity to explore new monetization and engagement opportunities.

That could come through the incorporation of betting content into their output, the marketing potential for bookmakers’ customer acquisition or a combination of the two.

We’re already seeing in certain states, and among a group of broadcasters, an experimentation with betting commentary and on-screen overlays, both of which have long been proven drivers of engagement on OTT platforms in other parts of the world with more advanced betting industries.

With engaged viewers, strong ‘infotainment’ content and a region that has opened up to betting, broadcasters are likely to be very much in demand among bookmakers seeking to acquire and retain customers.

There will be variations, based on the sport’s proclivity for betting and the level of betting influence leagues want included in productions, but the opportunities to engage with a new audience and make that pay through advertising and revenue generation are limitless.

What’s more, as technology advances and OTT platforms become more advanced, you’ll likely see more of a move towards personalization. Using data-driven viewer insights, broadcasters and leagues can tailor their content towards specific audience segments and fine tune both their output strategy and their monetization approach.

While tech and AV advancements will always be clear drivers of progress with regards to betting infotainment, broadcasters also need to be tuned into a strong network of both rights-holders and betting operators.

Traditionally it’s been betting operators who have benefited from live streaming and audiovisual content when it comes to keeping bettors on-site for longer. However, with betting’s ability to foster and enhance engagement among different segments of sports fans, have the tables now begun to turn back in favor of broadcasters?

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