Sports OTT Forum: How Digital Entities Create and Cultivate a Sports-Betting Plan

Bleacher Report, Sportradar want to tap into ‘betting behavior’

In 2019, we live in a time marked by seismic changes in legalized sports betting. After multiple states began permitting the practice and with others poised to allow it, professional leagues have broadened ties with their data providers, and mobile applications like Draft Kings and FanDuel have become hubs of activity. Content curators are playing catch-up in riding the sports-betting wave. At last month’s Sports OTT Forum, two executives who work in those trenches explored the day-to-day and long-term process of developing a sports-betting–centric strategy.

Sportradar’s Brian Josephs encourages a foundation of probabilities, insights, and analytics.

Step One: Get the Ball Rolling
Nothing can possibly get done without putting your best foot forward and taking the first step. Despite the infancy of legalized sports betting and the industry’s finding its way along this unknown path, the slew of data and live odds does not stop for anyone. When starting a sports-betting initiative, Brian Josephs, VP, digital sport, Sportradar, believes that three core elements can lead to real-time accurate information.

“It really depends on the appetite of your editorial staff, but the probabilities, advanced insights, and analytics around the game are very interesting for a bettor,” he said. “[Content creators need to ask] what are the certain trends or streaks that particular players, athletes, and teams are riding right now. What could give a bettor that little information they need to feel informed and then ultimately place a bet?”

Step Two: Capitalize on Your Audience
After getting started and establishing a sturdy foundation, it’s time to push out content that the majority of your fans can digest. As companies start to scratch the surface of sports-betting terms (over/under, covering the spread), a lot of progress can be made when these entities understand the inner fabric and mentality of their followers.

“This is a new concept because it’s newly legalized, but the habit [of gambling] is not new at all for sports fans due to fantasy football,” explained David Liss, VP, analytics and strategy, Bleacher Report. “Servicing is really something that we built some muscle around from a content perspective. There are a number of options — like picks, odds, and possible upsets — but a lot of it is just presenting the information in a visually clean way. On Instagram through our betting handle, there was a post that asked, ‘Who are the favorites to win the Super Bowl?’ for an event that will happen seven months from now. That’s tapping into the behavior that NFL fans at the end of July are getting notifications that the regular season is about to start.”

Bleacher Report’s David Liss wants to push towards a communal experience.

Step Three: Educate Your User
Although the attention of seasoned bettors is important, a successful plan will not maintain structure or relevance without expansion. For many OTT platforms, being able to educate the user and provide a deep understanding of the subject matter is key to increasing the fanbase. Bleacher Report intends on using their social-media content and Turner Sports’ partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

“We’re in the process of creating a lot of shows and content that leverage [the new studio in Las Vegas],” said Liss. “This content will all be about helping fans bet more smartly.”

 Step Four: Develop Encompassing User Experience
When all the hard work is done, it’s time to bring casual and expert fans together as a sports-betting community. With an easy-to-navigate user interface and content that caters to all, digital platforms can plant an immovable flag in the new venture of sports-betting coverage.

“We’re aggregating people that care about this topic and are finding ways to deliver that content to them. We’re building for a future where fans are able to place bets or build an ecosystem where that information and the exchanging of money can all live in a central place,” Liss said. “It all boils down to the user experience. [We want] a sports fan who cares about a game because they have money riding on it to [also] experience not just whether they won or lost their bet but the community surrounding that bet and that game.”