On Monday, ESPN announced yet another entrant into the sports betting content pool: The Daily Wager.
The one-hour program will start airing Monday, March 11, on ESPNEWS at 6 pm EST (It will also be available via live stream on the ESPN app.). The show aims to educate mainstream sports fans about sports betting and provide a deeper dive of analysis for hardcore fans.
This isn’t surprising at all, as we wrote about the likely expansion of sports betting programming last year.
A quote in the release from Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor of studio production, was pretty telling of where ESPN — and the media, in general — when it comes to gambling:
“The sports betting environment has changed and interest is increasing at unprecedented levels. ESPN is going to have a strong and vibrant presence across our platforms, and the launch of the Daily Wager is the next step in what has already been underway for some time.”
In short, sports betting content is like what poker programming or adding a “the” in front of your band name was in the early 2000s: Money in the bank.
Sports betting shows on TV
With the Daily Wager launching next Monday, here’s a look at shows on traditional cable/TV:
- ESPNEWS: The Daily Wager, 6 pm EST, Mondays-Fridays
- ESPN: Bad Beats, SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt
- FS1: Lock It In, 4:30 pm EST, Mondays-Fridays
- TVG/FanDuel: The Barstool Sports Advisors, Sundays during NFL season
- TVG/FanDuel: More Ways to Win, Sundays during NFL season
We are only scratching the surface of gambling-related TV content. Expect a slew of new programming by the start of 2019 NFL season.
Sports betting shows on streaming services
Streaming services online, or OTT devices, are a natural fit for gambling content. You can make quick-hitting, digestible and shareable content for a relatively low cost.
Some notable streaming shows include:
- ESPN Plus: I’ll Take That Bet
- CBS Sports HQ: SportsLine Edge
- NBC Sports: Quick Hitters on its NBCSports.com’s bet page
- VSiN: My Guys in the Desert
Sports betting shows on the radio
If there’s a growth area or corner for someone to claim with sports betting content, it’s through the radio. We expect more programs to pop up by the start of the NFL season. It’s cheap content, convertible to podcasts, with the potential for audience interaction and deploying proven call-to-action campaigns.
- CBS Sports Radio: Farrell on the Bench
- SiriusXM: VSiN’s My Guys in the Desert & Follow the Money
Sports betting podcasts
A rise in radio programming will drive increased demand (and downloads) with podcasts. Also, see above.
- The Ringer: Against All Odds
- ESPN: Behind the Bets with Doug Kezirian
- Stanford Steve and The Bear
- TheLines Podcast
- Bet the Board
- Beating the Book
- Bet the Process
We covered this one after the Tiger Woods versus Phil Mickelson pay-per-view betting event, The Match, but it’s worth reiterating: This is the future of sports betting content.
The ability to integrate gambling content on specialty, high-profile events, as well as engage audience interaction, make these a future 800-pound sports betting gorilla.
While there’s not anything significant on the docket, watch for sports betting information become more prominent in existing pay-per-view broadcasts, like the UFC.
Is there enough of a market to support this much content?
That’s the million-dollar question.
Right now, you’ve got around 31 states in various legislative stages, with 120 bills in play. We boldly predicted that nine states will pass sports betting legislation by the end of 2019. That’s barely scratching the surface of the total market, especially considering California and Texas are not among those nine.
However, the burgeoning opportunity is enormous.
At a micro level, an Eilers & Krafcik Gaming report estimates that if all 50 states had legal sports betting (online and brick and mortar), March Madness would generate total handle of about $15.2 billion and gross gaming revenue (GGR) of approximately $1.2 billion.
That’s just one (albeit massive) gambling event. Factor in the Super Bowl, Champions League, World Series, and more and you’re looking at a waterfall of money to pump into programming.
We expect programming to grow as more states come on board that can support underwriting the content. It’s the same model as the online-poker-boom years, except with larger GGR and no legislative ambiguity.