Back in January, the sports betting industry was poised for big moments. Japan was poised to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In Germany, the Bundesliga is primed for another impressive season. And punters and sports betting operators are looking forward to the annual ‘March Madness’, an exciting three-week bonanza of games, unpredictable results, and betting opportunities. However, pandemic happened. Japan rescheduled the Olympics, the Bundesliga resumed last May 16, in closed doors. And the NCAA postponed the games to the disappointment of many.
With the cancellation and postponement of most sporting events, several industries took a hit, including casinos and the sports betting industry in general. But, at times like this, it’s always best to look at the brighter side of life. The sports industry may be struggling, but its due for a recovery anytime soon.
Importance of sports to everyone
As the lockdown extends from days to months, several organizations announced the cancellation and postponement of sporting events. For many, the change is manageable for a start. But not being able to go out, play, or simply watch sporting events became a serious problem. In the short term, people are realizing the importance of sports, or the need to go out and play their games. When Netflix and ESPN announced the streaming of ‘The Last Dance’, viewers glued to the show until the end. This only validates our connection with the sports or how we missed it. Just recently, ESPN announced another plan for a sports documentary, this time revolving around Tom Brady and set for a 2021 release.
A downtime to innovate and improve business models
The pandemic may have upended the sports industry, but it creates opportunities for growth and development. As they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, and industry stakeholders are taking notice.
One change that we can expect is the use of live streaming to view sports. Yes, live streaming technology is now used by many online sportsbooks for their in-play facilities, but can soon become the ‘new normal’ for many on how to follow and view sports. This arrangement is actually beneficial for punters because they can watch while betting. Comfort, convenience, and now, protection of one’s health, are just some of the reasons why you should bet online. Also, these are the reasons why online betting sites were slightly resilient compared to their brick-and-mortar models. In these platforms, they can still follow virtual sports and bet on some games even during the lockdown.
Furthermore, live streaming is better since television broadcast offers a bit of delay. In short, live streaming can become a standard offering in sports, which can help punters and enthusiasts enjoy their sports betting experience in a flexible and convenient manner.
The industry is also looking at how advanced cameras and technology can give fans a more authentic viewing experience even at home. Just recently, FOX Sports announced that in the next few months, it will be adding virtual fans to the stadium to make it appear that it’s filled. Also, simulated crowd sounds shall be used in the NFL broadcasts. The team will use multiple cameras and drones to get closer to the court and the players. Also, it did not specify or describe how realistic these sounds will be, but what’s sure is that the media company is preparing for football matches even without fans on the sidelines.
But here’s one question that’s waiting to be answered: when can we expect the games to resume? There conflicting opinions on the matter depending on the region or its many sports organizations. What’s clear is that the sports industry and betting will be different, and watching the games or betting online will be the new normal.