Demographic shifts coupled with media fragmentation have largely determined the end of passive content consumption among sports fans. As gamified, interactive fan experiences are increasingly valued among Generation Z and millennials, sports betting becomes an attractive way for sports properties such as teams, leagues, and event organisers to re-energise existing and attract new fanbases, at the same time driving revenue growth. Nonetheless, betting is a contentious topic and sports brands need to evaluate the risks associated with it carefully.
What role does sports betting play in driving fan engagement?
Sports betting directly addresses the dilution of attention across the media landscape by actively engaging audiences, serving as a platform that offers financial rewards, social interaction and elevated sports entertainment. Sports fans like to leverage their expertise in the sport, teams, and players to predict outcomes and profit through betting. Betting can also enhance a sense of community while interacting with other sports fans and bettors, often on social media. It also amplifies excitement, thus drawing new enthusiasts into the sport.
Innovation in the betting landscape offers to power the future of fan engagement. Faster connectivity is driving engagement through micro-betting, demanding heightened focus from bettors, while single-screen betting incentivises fans to stay within the same ecosystem for all the experiences offered. Fast and safe transactions deliver convenience and contribute to a willingness to engage in sports betting, as the financial incentive is a strong driver to bet.
Nevertheless, the expansion of and easier access to online betting has brought a growing concern that the practice is further fuelling problem gambling. For sports brands it is crucial to prioritise consumer protection to strike the right balance between engaging sports fans and safeguarding their wellbeing. Sports fans need to trust that there is a set of compliance and safety measures implemented and constantly updated by all stakeholders to be able to enjoy the betting experience.
54% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they only buy from companies and brands they trust completely
Source: Euromonitor International’s Consumer Lifestyles Survey, 2023
Which brands are excelling at attracting attention?
Looking from the consumer side and assessing the popularity of betting brands online helps to better understand winning strategies. Euromonitor’s new attention tracking methodology, analysing web traffic and app data, helps to gauge the potential of sports betting brands to influence consumption and contribute to revenue growth for professional sports properties.
For instance in the UK, Bet365 is driving the most fan engagement in terms of attention share.
In 2022, 20% of bettors' attention across major online sports betting brands in the UK is focussed on Bet365
Source: Euromonitor International
This is testament to the brand's pioneering approach to in-play betting and the offer of livestreaming within it's app increasing engagement on the platform, and for longer periods of time. A competitive local sports market is an important factor in engaging bettors. Betting brands rely on the Premier League's solid competitive foundation, this being an essential ingredient to high frequency betting.
Brand activation through partnerships with sports has been a big part of the marketing strategy of betting companies in European football; however, this situation is slowly changing, with more European countries tightening restrictions on betting operators and their advertising. In the US, however, the oversight of this young and fast-growing market has been left mostly to states, resulting in a lack of protection measures for consumers.
The US sees a close-run race between FanDuel and DraftKings attracting 26% and 24% of total bettors’ attention, respectively, across major online sports betting brands in the country
Source: Euromonitor International
In addition, heightened interest was recorded on betting websites and apps in the build-up to the 2023 Super Bowl LVII, with FanDuel and DraftKings growing their attention share of the US sports betting market by seven percentage points each.
Being official NFL partners, FanDuel and DraftKings employed Super Bowl ads and celebrity endorsements, alongside more industry-specific tactics such as free bet offerings, for heightened engagement. 20% of consumers in the US in 2023 stated that celebrities on social media are very or extremely influential when making purchasing decisions generally, according to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey.
Sustainability lies in balancing engagement and consumer protection
At a time when winning and maintaining attention is highly challenging, betting provides insights on how to combat this. Competition among betting brands is fuelling innovation, driving marketing spend, content production and sponsorship, all of which further create fan engagement opportunities across the sports ecosystem. The sustainability of sports and betting’s synergy, however, lies in a proactive approach towards consumer protection. Prioritising fan experience and trust will be essential to retaining sports brands’ integrity and capitalising on the commercial opportunities associated with betting.
Learn more about synergy between sports and betting brands in our report, Fan Engagement in Focus: Measuring the Impact of Sports Betting on the Industry
To discuss how Euromonitor’s new attention tracking methodology can be applied to track engagement in sports and consumer attention online more broadly, reach out to Egle Tekutyte.