Accountancy firm PwC published its 2019 report on Sports Outlook, which tracks potential opportunities and challenges in the burgeoning U.S. sports sector for future industry growth.
This year’s version refreshes the company’s five-year sales projection to 2023 in four main North American sports market segments: gate income, media rights, sponsorship, and merchandising. It is also important that the forecast takes a deeper dive into sports betting and its ability to reshape key market pieces.
Touching on many of the big discussion points around sports betting, PwC quickly focused on the value of mobile.
“No matter how or where you engage in sports – at home, at the game or someplace in between – the only common platform is mobile,” it said. “For companies in the entertainment business, the equation to enhance the experience must include a digital variable.”
It added: “Branded apps and mobile sites are now baseline for companies who want to engage with consumers, with each outlet striving for any degree of differentiation.”
The study goes on to describe social media as a key element in the community formed by today’s experience.
“For sports gamblers, it would be a disservice not to monitor social media before placing a bet,” it noted. “Mass online communities providing intricate levels of insight are indicators of how leveraging social media can increase your odds.
“Social media has also revolutionised the fan relationship with athletes, leagues and brands. Of the major players wanting in on the sports betting boom, social media is positioned strategically to act as a significant player between gamblers and the sports business.”
The gambling view, according to PwC, is not limited to the sports fan. “The ease of proposition bets and free-to-play opportunities draw in historically gambling-focused consumers who are likely to be converted to sports consumers,” it said.
“Offers for predictive gaming during live telecasts draw in audiences right from their living room and help maintain viewership. Despite the quality of the game itself, a personal interest to stay tuned for the outcome—independent of the competitiveness of the game—allows broadcasters and advertisers alike a longer and deeper opportunity to maintain attention and interest from viewers.”
The report also forecasts that in the longer term, sports betting would leave on the sector an indelible mark. It said: “Legalised betting is a concept that sports leagues and regulators took years to embrace, fearing corruption could taint the entire business. Now, it is finally becoming clear – betting could be the ticket to undeniable monetisation. The potential to permanently embed legal sports betting into the sports ecosystem proves to be an unstoppable catalyst, forever changing the game.”