The NFL is expected to make way for NCAAB (college basketball) as the big league for sportsbook operators to focus on for ‘newcomer take-up’ amongst US players in the month of March, despite running alongside the regular NBA season.

That’s according to seasonality data presented by Kambi as part of an NFL 2019/20 Report on betting trends across its network of sportsbook operators.

Over the course of 2019, two-in-five (or 41%) US players placed their first wager on an NFL game, against 14% for the NBA and just 5% for college basketball.

Yet in March 2019, more than 50% of the betting newcomers in the US arrived with wagers on college basketball inspired by March Madness, the single-elimination tournament that has become one of the most famous annual sporting events across the country.

As expected, the premier college basketball tournament (final 8 April 2019) was then usurped by the NBA, the top US league for the sport’s professional ranks, as number one for ‘newcomer take-up’ in the months of April and May.

However, despite the NBA finals running into the middle of June, Major League Baseball (MLB) picked up the mantle for June to August, before the NFL returned to assume the top spot from September (season started 5 September 2019) through to the end of the year.

The MLB actually accounted for the highest proportion of newcomers for any given month in 2019, at almost 70% for July – the only month of the year where just one of the top six US leagues for sports betting handle is ongoing. 

The aforementioned NFL, NCAAB, NBA and MLB are currently joined by the NHL and NCAAF (college football) in this top six club, which combined to generate interesting insight for sportsbook operators into the value of the cross-sell.

Across the Kambi network in 2019, 58% of NFL handle was produced by bettors who wager on each of the six leagues. Only 3% came from those betting on the NFL and none of the other five, with only 4% from those betting on the NFL and just one of the others.

To read the report in full, click here.