With the forced hiatus dragging on in the sports world because of the coronavirus, sports gambling fans and sportsbooks are feeling the pinch. Alternatives to placing wagers on NBA and MLB games are being offered, but aren’t drawing nearly the level of attention as the major sports leagues. The world of tennis has taken a hit, as well, and the ATP Tour recently announced that it was going to suspend its activity for six weeks, eyeing a possible return to action on June 7. If necessity is the mother of invention, sports gambling options are needed now more than ever, and the ATP is responding. With the help of IGM Arena, it is introducing a new virtual tennis product that will give sports gambling fans something to look forward to, and it should be here within just a couple of weeks.
IMG Arena announced the new solution a couple of days ago on its website, explaining that it is preparing to unveil this month the “first-ever officially branded virtual tennis product, featuring logos from the ATP Masters 1000 series along with official tournament names, to deliver an authentic, fan-first experience.”
The idea will be to allow sportsbooks to offer lines on various odds, including in-match prop bets and others. It will be made available in a number of jurisdictions, but, most likely, won’t be found on many U.S.-based options – only those that have already authorized virtual sports betting. As states in the country realize that their local economies are about to suffer huge pitfalls, perhaps the coronavirus will serve as an impetus for them to re-evaluate their gambling positions and force them to allow additional opportunities.
ATP Media CEO Mark Webster says of the new partnership, “This is a landmark agreement for ATP Media at a challenging time. We are excited to be working with IMG ARENA to deliver fans around the world innovative content and new ways to enjoy their favourite tennis tournaments.
“Together we are creating a compelling, always-on product that will boost and diversify our sports betting offering, while helping to continue to further develop our international footprint.”
IMG Arena is part of the IMG group, and is an equity stakeholder of Leap Gaming, a virtual sports gambling developer. Leap Gaming and IMG have worked together on several virtual sports betting solutions, including ones found in golf, soccer, motorsports and more.
Freddie Longe, IMG Arena’s managing director, adds, “When we invested in virtual sports specialists Leap Gaming, our vision was to create official products and unlock new revenue streams and forms of fan engagement for our clients. ATP Media share this vision and desire to evolve the way that its fans could connect with tennis. The result is a game-changing product that maximises player engagement and operator returns. As with all of our virtual sports offerings, we have developed the most realistic look, feel, and betting experience.”
Virtual sports may not provide the same feel as the real thing, but they’re better than nothing. NASCAR has already gotten into the virtual racing space as a result of the coronavirus, and the response has been better than anticipated. For sports gambling fans, and the sportsbooks that survive off them, having any alternative is going to help overcome the void left by COVID-19.
This article is a reprint from CalvinAyre.com. To view the original story and comment, click here.