Brad Weitz, Data Skrive CEO
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a die-hard Indiana Hoosiers fan. As a kid, my passion for the basketball team would take precedence over almost anything. It was an obsession. When IU accepted me, it was amazing. When I arrived on campus, it was like I had found utopia by immersing myself in Hoosier basketball and all its glory.
I graduated, moved to New Jersey and subsequently, Seattle. While my passion and voracious appetite for Hoosiers’ content have persisted through the years, finding enough information to satisfy my hunger is challenging.
Fortunately, I found other passions: technology and digital marketing. Now, as CEO of Data Skrive, these worlds collide, and I can fill the void millions of sports fans like me feel every day. At Data Skrive, our platform uses machine learning to generate game analysis, predictions, rankings, and real-time insights. Sports fans, whether their favorite team is the Seattle Reign of the NWSL, the Seattle Mariners, the Washington Huskies, or as hard as this may be to fathom, the Purdue Boilermakers, can once again immerse themselves in fandom.
Why am I sharing my crazy obsessions with you? Because in 2018, sports media in the US was turned on its head with the legalization of sports betting. Since the overturning of PASPA, eighteen states have legalized sports betting, and estimates suggest that by 2023 the US sports betting market will grow to $13 billion.
This fervor created a flurry of investment and partnerships between sportsbooks and media companies, all trying to capitalize on the opportunity to captivate team enthusiasts around the country. Whether it’s CBS and William Hill, ESPN and DraftKings, NBC and PointsBet, Barstool and Penn National, or BetMGM and Yahoo, one thing is sure: Sportsbooks and media will be investing billions of dollars over the next decade to capture sports fans’ attention.
The paramount question ahead will be “how?” More specifically, how do you capture and keep fans’ attention right now and cost-effectively? These are the questions we answer for our sportsbook, affiliate, and sports media clients every day. As I reflect on my behavior as an avid fan and these conversations with our customers, two strategies are being deployed. Based on conversations with our clients about their customers, and even when it comes to my own behavior as an avid fan, I notice two strategies being deployed. I will elaborate on each below.
1. Be timely and convenient
2. Be local with a national appeal
In a world where options are abundant and 24/7 access to information is the norm, it’s hard for companies and fans to keep pace. For example, as I write this, significant news broke in the sports world. The New York Jets released Le’Veon Bell.
If we dive deeper into trending topics following his release, we see sports fans searching for a myriad of topics related to Bell. As you can see, many are team-specific with interest in fantasy, stats, landing spots, and more.
Delivering this news conveniently for sports enthusiasts compounds the challenge. Different segments of the population want news delivered via search, social, voice assistant, in-app, infographics, bulleted list, or a robust 1,800-word opinion.
Why does this matter? This leads me to my next point.
According to a recent HPL study, 69% of bettors desire betting tips, and 50% want engaging editorial. Using the Le’Veon Bell example, let’s dissect what this means in practice. Each team’s fans hoping to land the former all-pro running back may have different topics they care about.
Jets fans probably care about:
Chiefs fans might like to know:
While local publications often do a great job covering their beat and topics like the above, they struggle to expand their audience nationally. Conversely, large media are challenged to cover the local or player/team-specific topics consistently.
Like me, most sports fans are loyal to a team or player. With sports betting legalization happening at the state level, this exacerbates that phenomenon. Le’Veon Bell’s release demonstrates the need to serve local angles with national appeal.
As discussed earlier in this article, with sportsbooks’ appetite to partner with media large and small, there is an opportunity for all parties to leverage technology to capture the opportunity.
Based on our clients’ data, they tackle this challenge by leveraging automation to engage fans with highly analytical content and by repurposing journalists to handle breaking news and human-interest articles.
For sportsbooks and sports media to capitalize on the billion-dollar betting opportunity that lies ahead, solving the challenge of leveraging automation technology to engage sports bettors means the difference between thriving and surviving.
Brad is a technology executive with over 15 years of experience scaling eight startups. At Data Skrive, Brad spearheaded the development of our patent-pending content automation platform and is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction and priorities. Before joining Data Skrive, Brad led the emerging technology and strategic consulting group at Brightedge. When not working, Brad avidly follows his Indiana Hoosiers and enjoys spending time with his wife, two daughters, and German Shepherd, Jäger.
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