Note: This article is based on Variety Intelligence Platform’s special report “Sports Gambling & Media,” available exclusively to subscribers.

One of the most critical findings from Variety Intelligence Platform’s new report on sports gambling is that betting on a sport ramps up consumer engagement with that sport. 

For sports rights holders, this is manna from heaven. An activity that can lead to an increased audience and thus more exposure to ads, with said activity also a healthy market with multiple companies all looking to pay for sponsorships, ads and integrations to boost their own customer bases? It sounds too good to be true. 

For the results excerpted from VIP+’s special report, we partnered with market research firm CRG Global, which worked with us to design and field a survey among mobile sports gamblers in the U.S. 

CRG Global found that two-thirds of those who bet on NFL games say they watch more than usual when gambling, and that is the sport with the greatest proportion of sports bettors watching more when they have a bet. The NBA also sees a strong proportion of gamblers saying they’re more likely to watch when placing a bet. 

(Note this data is also broken down by demographics in the full report available to VIP+ subscribers.) 

A key finding from the CRG Global/VIP+ study is how sports betting has led gamblers to adopt new teams as a result of emotional relationships built from following results and performances.

This in turn suggests an increase in viewing when these teams play, with the obvious suggestion being networks and sportsbooks research this further to find out which teams have become favorites of sports gamblers. 

Betting also influences interest in the game being watched. Should a game wind up a one-sided blowout, a quarter of all sports bettors say they stop watching, with close to half saying they watch the game but pay less attention given the lack of sporting urgency and just 3 in 10 saying they pay the same.  

This radically alters once a bet is placed. Stopping the watching of a game falls to just 1 in 10, with watching the game as if it were close and paying attention to it surges to 1 in 2 mobile sports gamblers.

This could have repercussions for networks that sometimes switch feeds if a blowout occurs; if their sportsbook partners can indicate whether the game has a large number of bets on, or if in-game bets can be encouraged, then audiences may not fall as much as they did before mobile gambling was legalized. 

See more of VIP+'s sports betting coverage:

U.S. Online Betting Breaks Record in 2022

Why the NFL Is the Most Popular Sport to Bet On

A Look at the Most Popular Sportsbooks

Read the Report