One of the busiest times of the year in the sporting calendar is here, writes David Bretnitz, Senior Director of Sales for Kambi. NFL teams are battling for a playoff spot, college football bowl season is about to begin, and there is an exciting slate of the traditional NBA games on Christmas Day. Indeed, the holiday season presents one of the busiest sporting schedules and most exciting times for sports bettors.
You could say this exciting stretch started on October 20th when for only the 27th time in history, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL were all in action on the same day. This ‘Sports Equinox’ repeated a record three more times in October and November. As if that wasn’t enough to be excited about, this year also sees the FIFA World Cup running from the end of November all the way through the holiday season for the first time.
So far this quarter, football and basketball have been the two most popular sports for bettors on the US Kambi network. In fact, because of the sheer volume of games available for bettors, basketball is the most bet on sport on the Kambi network throughout the year in terms of handle. Additionally, soccer is the third most bet on sport on the US Kambi network so far this quarter, ahead of baseball and ice hockey, and first overall internationally.
Combinability creates opportunity
With the holiday season being such a busy sporting period, interest in placing parlay bets is also anticipated to be on the rise, making a quality bet builder, one that has a high level of combinability across different events, leagues, and sports, even more important for operators.
Kambi’s recent bet builder white paper looked at trends throughout the industry including bettors’ behavior when creating parlay bets. It was found that the most popular combined sports were football and basketball, basketball and hockey, and baseball and basketball. All these sports overlap each other at some point in the final quarter of the year. Add to this the World Cup, one of the largest international sporting events, which saw 3.5 billion viewers worldwide during the last tournament in 2018, and the already vast number of combinations that bettors can create increases exponentially.
The 2018 World Cup took place just a month following the repeal of PASPA, and prior to New Jersey going live with sports betting in August 2018, so there is little in the way of like-for-like comparison in this regard. However, Euro 2020, which only took place in 2021 following delays due to the pandemic, provides a valuable snapshot of bettor behavior and saw bet builder account for 30% of bets on the Kambi network throughout the tournament, while 40% of bettors placed four or more Bet Builder bets.
This highlights how betting on demand has become a major industry trend in recent years, and we can expect to see the same kind of activity throughout the World Cup.
It remains to be seen how the World Cup will affect the types of parlay bets placed through the rest of the year, as this is a time that is usually dedicated to football, basketball, and the hockey season. One thing is certain – there is plenty of opportunity for bettors and operators alike during this time where the sporting calendar is full of exciting and meaningful competition. For operators, having the right tools and products like bet builder in place will either make or break their performance during this busy period of sport.