When FanDuel Group and SportsGrid announced their strategic partnership last month, one of the major talking points of the deal was the effect it would have on content, specifically that both parties will be creating more than 50 hours of original content for their customers a month. 

Ed Moed, CEO of HPL Digital Sport, spoke with SBC Americas about how this goes hand in hand with research undertaken by the firm showing that sportsbooks and platforms will need to create content to keep users engaged and gain new customers.

Sports are finally coming back. And, not only will it be what we, as sports fans, have been waiting for these past few months, it will be a zero to sixty kick-start of four professional leagues (MLS, MLB, NHL and NBA) all within a few weeks of each other. It’s essentially Christmas in July for sports fans.

The July start for professional sports is also an unofficial kick-start for the daily fantasy and sports betting industries that have effectively been on pause since March (with the exception of European soccer and the PGA which started in June). This doesn’t mean that because the floodgates are opening that DFS and sportsbooks can rest on their laurels or think that their customers will just come back.

The pandemic has put everything on its head. Every industry is grappling with how it can compete as business models have shifted. This goes for sports as well as DFS and sports betting. Traditional sports are experimenting with ways to make the fan and viewing experience better without fans in the stands as the ultimate live experience is essentially eliminated. The trickle down effect of that is that DFS and sports betting operators need to up their game to meet customers’ rising expectations. 

Due to the pandemic, customers will be looking for an elevated sports experience. In addition to that heightened expectation, more than likely the user will have less disposable income to play with. This means that they’ll be extremely judicial about where they spend their time and money. Never has the brand and customer experience been so important to acquire users and keep them loyal to your site. Fantasy players and sports bettors have been waiting for this, and it’s time to get it right. 

The smart trend evolving in the industry is how operators are leaning into content as the sticky component that will keep users on a site and engaged longer than just making their bet or setting their fantasy lineup. It seems simple, but think about all the different sites that a user needs to interact with in order to set their fantasy lineup or make a bet.

They go to one site to see the lines, another for an injury report, another for expert analysis, most likely to social media to soundboard others and then to the actual platform to finalize their picks or lineup. Why can’t this be an all-in-one experience?

In fact, in our recent HPL Digital Sport study “State of the New Sports Bettor,” we discovered that bettors are essentially demanding stronger content for a more heightened experience. Sixty-nine % of users stated that they want more betting tips, 50% want engaging editorial content and 34% wished for the ability to communicate with other platform users. 

Some brands are already seeing the writing on the wall. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen three major deals between sportsbooks and content providers: first, Penn National Gaming bought a stake in Barstool Sports. Then in February, William Hill partnered with CBS Sports. In late June, FanDuel announced a partnership with SportsGrid. Two is a coincidence, but three makes a trend.

As the pandemic has created a critical pivot point for all companies in all industries to reevaluate their value proposition to their customers, so must the DFS and sports betting industry. As DFS and sports betting becomes more widely accepted across the country, companies can’t take for granted the evolving needs, wants and attitudes of the user. As sports begin their kick-start and users come back to the fold, this is the time to keep them engaged. This is the time to give them their Christmas in July.