Media and technology firm Verizon Media and sports-betting and gaming operator Entain have entered into what they describe as a “global innovation alliance to develop new opportunities across interactive sports and entertainment”. 

Entain brands include Ladbrokes, bwin, PartyPoker, and BetMGM in the United States, which is co-owned with MGM Resorts.

The new alliance coincides with initial findings from new research undertaken on behalf of Entain by YouGov, revealing that the use of technology is increasingly shaping consumer behaviors in gaming and entertainment around the world, notably in the US and Australia.  

Social media, it found, has become central to consumer enjoyment, with new immersive experiences, driven by virtual reality and 5G, accelerating growth of both gaming and e-sports.

Consequently, Verizon Media and Entain will collaborate to develop a first-of-its-kind “highly immersive proof of concept virtual reality experience” that will combine live sports viewing with interactive layers of sports data and gaming. Consumers will be able to participate in sports events, check data, socialize with friends, and place bets on Entain platforms.   

Moreover, Entain will work closely with Verizon Media to develop concepts for new formats with emerging technologies like 5G, virtual reality, and augmented reality to bring the best experiences in immersive content and gaming to sports betting and gambling. 

Along with betting on the Entain platforms on live streaming sports events, the goal is to create realistic, immersive experiences for sports fans, such as being in the stadium, participating in play, competing and betting on outcomes on the Entain platforms. 

Entain CEO Shay Segev commented: “To win in the future we need to understand where consumers will be in five, 10 years’ time and work with other global businesses also investing in that. 

“We envisage consumers meeting at a game with friends, who could in fact be elsewhere, using virtual reality headsets to watch, interact and share the experience together and, potentially, compete between themselves at half time or feel like they’re on the pitch with the players.”

Guru Gowrappan, CEO, Verizon Media, stated: “This new alliance takes the collaboration between our two companies to a new level and will allow us both to maximize new opportunities across sports-betting, content and entertainment.

“Together, we are building the next-generation of content experiences for sports and gaming fans. Our world-first 5G-enabled production studios in LA and London, creative technology teams and Verizon Media’s Immersive platform, that enables extended reality (XR) content to be created and distributed across digital channels at scale, allow partners like Entain to bring next-level immersive and interactive experiences to their customers.” 

The collaboration builds on an existing successful relationship between Yahoo Sports, part of Verizon Media, and BetMGM, the joint venture with MGM Resorts through which Entain operates in the US. BetMGM is integrated throughout Yahoo Sports in the US, and in legal jurisdictions fans can place a bet with BetMGM without leaving the Yahoo Sports app.