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Betting on Sports Consumer Engagement

Rich Potential

According to Grand Valley Research, the global sports betting market reached $83.65 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% from 2023 to 2030, with the demand driven by major shifts in the regulatory landscape, the penetration of connected devices and developing digital infrastructure.

In the blog post “Live Sports Insights,” All Things Insights’ Seth Adler spoke with Mitch Rosen, VP BetQL Network, Director of Operations and Brand Manager, The Score, The Fan, Audacy, about the evolution of the sector and how sports streaming has emerged as the rapidly expanding business it is today, plus the various opportunities associated with that growth.

Rosen says live sports and streaming, although growing before the pandemic, took off during the heights of COVID-19 restrictions on movement and gatherings. For example, Major League Baseball, he says, particularly drove the development both as a sport and in the case of individual teams.

Although sports such as baseball, basketball and football may lead in terms of content and betting, Rosen points out that a lot of next-tier sports have their passionate followers who want to know more about the players, follow the games and bet on the competition. As such, tennis, golf and Olympic sports are growing in “major ways” Rosen says.

The assumption that it’s overwhelmingly men involved with streaming sports is erroneous, adds Rosen. Today, women are engaging in sports streaming significantly and are an audience that should be considered.

Engagement and interaction are important tactics to consider. Gambling and pastimes such as fantasy sports are ways for people across the country who aren’t athletes or otherwise part of the sports world to engage and interact with their favorite teams, players and specific sports.

The Rise of Wagertainment

Wagering is a more substantial way consumers engage and interact with sports. Sports betting is legal in 22 states today, so people can easily bet where it’s legal without finding someone to gamble with, whether privately or covertly in the case of a bookie. Many times, they can do so sitting on their couch at home by using their smartphones. Gambling platforms have created any number of ways to bet, which makes something that once had to be planned out an anytime occurrence given the different kinds of wagers that people can make today even while a game is underway.

It’s easy to get fixated on gambling, which often is the central act. Yet, wagering is now only part of a larger show. Audacy characterizes what has emerged today in and around sports and betting as wagertainment. It has developed BetQL as an online vehicle to revolutionize how fans enjoy their sport of choice. BetQL goes beyond standard content such as predictions and forecasts. A growing dedicated audience for online sports interaction can be found on any number of sports networks, but BetQL offers not just information but, critically, insights. Rather than being instructed on how to bet by some broadcaster, consumers want access to the same kind of information the people covering the games from the broadcast booths have. For BetQL, the presentation is meant to engage and entertain people in and of itself. In advancing its initiative, the company partnered with BetMGM to create a nationwide network including over the air radio stations and an audio and video app and so has become a nationwide content provider. The main show that anchors the initiative is “You Better You Bet” on the app and via the radio stations. The BetQL audience builds a relationship with its hosts and a sense of trust, Rosen says.

Consumers want information, engagement, interaction, data and analytics, Rosen asserts. The more people get involved the more they become like stock market aficionados, who use multiple sources of information as they invest their money.

The development of content is ongoing. As streaming sports has grown, including sites associated with gambling and fantasy football, and web content generated by everyone from gambling sites to ESPN to Yahoo, opportunities arise and developing insights into the channel will be key to sector growth going forward as marketers work to expand the audience.

Forward growth is likely to continue, Grand Valley Research suggests. The market researcher also sees COVID-19 as advancing the sector’s growth. Still, gains in e-sports accessibility or, from the opposite perspective, content, helped momentum build as well. In addition, increased use of smartphones has led to the wide availability and accessibility of sports betting, further propelling the global market.

Online platforms led the sports betting market in terms of channel in 2022, and Grand Valley reported that expectations are for the segment to generate a CAGR of more than 12% and maintain its dominance over the forecast period.

Keeping the Consumer Engaged

Business services firm Deloitte has actually characterized the current period as the “golden age” of sports content. More conspicuous examples of how quickly the development of streaming sports is occurring include Amazon’s paying $1 billion per season to stream NFL “Thursday Night Football” as well as “Friday Night Baseball” and Major League Soccer deals cut by the Apple TV+ streaming video service. In addition, an HBO Max pact gave the streamer rights to U.S. women’s and men’s national soccer team matches.

Deloitte conducted a consumer survey among 500 U.S. respondents, with 319 being sports fans. Of those identifying themselves as sports fans, 53% said they paid for a streaming video service to access sports content over the past year. But fans had some frustrations with their streaming services that, Deloitte warned, could reduce engagement levels. Just about half felt they had too many subscriptions, 62% were frustrated by difficulties finding content, and 54% reported missing events.

Under the circumstances, streaming sports content, betting included, could benefit particularly from insights into the sector and the consumers who are interacting with it.

The Media Insights & Engagement Conference will be held January 23-25, 2024, in Miami, FL.


  • Seth Adler

    Seth Adler heads up All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has spent his career bringing people together around content. He has a dynamic background producing events, podcasts, video, and the written word.

    View all posts

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