More than just betting on women's basketball, women have long been neglected from sports wagering, period.
It’s been challenging keeping track of the weekly headlines announcing sports betting operator deals with media companies and million-dollar endorsements from NFL, NBA, MLB teams, etc. Casino companies like Bally's are prioritizing their new business plans focused upon sports wagering. And there is megamergers, like Caesars aggressively looking to move forward now after completing their big William Hill acquisition.
Seeming lost in the shuffle was relative quiet news that PointsBet and the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) created a new partnership.
The licensing agreement, announced on May 21, will allow PointsBet to use WNBA team logos and player's images across its platforms to grow brand awareness. The company ambitiously wants to position itself for sports betting among women’s sports consumers.
Financial arrangements of the one-year agreement were not announced. That traditionally means a good chunk of change for the WBNA, which is in no planetary orbit with big-brother NBA, for the millions of dollars they acquire in numerous licensing and partnership deals with other companies.
A Great Tip-Off
No matter what PointsBet paid the WBNA, I say this is a fantastic, clever move for the innovative sportsbook, which is known for thinking outside the box. In gaining the opportunity to market toward a potential “virgin base” of new customers, it provides them an edge no other competitor could challenge. Although it’s often impossible to put an accurate figure upon this, the CPA (cost per acquisition) for new players could be the greatest value possible.
The WNBA has substantiated this deal by playing up the opportunity to enhance the experience and broaden engagement for their fans, who are mainly female. But the bottom line is no different than the effect sports gambling has upon men. That is, keeping them always “in the game” when the game is often long over. Perhaps paying attention to half time scores, player props, parlay opportunities, etc.
Proving that in a media statement, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the partnership with PointsBet will provide a digital second-screen experience. And the deal will provide WNBA consumers a new way to watch games infused with PointsBet betting odds.
Englebert added, “Innovating at the WNBA and enhancing the fan experience starts with recognizing how our fans want to interact with the players, teams, and the league.”
As for the PointsBet team, they are confident to extend the deal well beyond the current one-year arrangement. The company was originally founded in Australia and plans to use the WNBA traditional Summer schedule as a boost within a time that does not overlap with the main menu of U.S. sports, including the NFL, NBA, and NHL.
“We are thrilled to align with the WNBA and bring the world-class PointsBet experience to one of the most digitally-engaged fan bases on earth”, Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO, commented in a statement.
He added, "The WNBA has done a phenomenal job with growing fan engagement, and PointsBet is excited to be a piece of that puzzle moving forward.” PointsBet also made note that the WBNA’s average viewing audience during the 2020 regular and postseason during COVID-19 was up 38%, while other sports properties struggled.
Girls, Girls, Girls
The impact of the PointsBet-WNBA deal raises a much more advanced question that urgently needs to be answered. Why have women been so long been overlooked as a great opportunity market as new U.S. sports bettors? In a traditional sense, only sports-loving males seem to be targeted, significantly young males 18+ to introduce them as potential lifetime customers.
But as our social networking world has also changed the sports wagering world, especially enhanced by COVID-19 to an "online wagering" dominated force, why wouldn't we think that WOMEN wouldn't be interested in betting sports as well?
I don’t have a recent marketing research study to quote from, but I would have to think that many girls are in the room on NFL Sundays and all day on NCAA college football Saturdays. Paying attention as the guys pound their iPhones with bets like a concert piano. Why wouldn’t they want to get in on the action themselves? Hmmm . . .
And while we're on the same page with women's professional basketball, why not consider their huge interest in LPGA Golf and WTA Tennis? All long-standing leagues ready and waiting for more betting partnership deals to fuel more interest and female fan engagement.
Need More Proof?
Necessary data will hopefully obtain more concrete answers toward women’s potential interest in U.S. sports betting. Large sportsbooks operators like FanDuel and DraftKings continue to pour millions of dollars into advertising and marketing seeking to obtain and retain customers. A bold investment undoubtedly fighting for the same demographic male player base.
As example, poker and specifically online poker was traditionally thought to be a male-only wagering interest. Though WSOP Ladies Poker Tournaments have existed since 1977, the prize pool for events has continued to consistently grow in recent years, drawing more women’s attention & betting involvement. Top-ranked players like Annie Duke and Vanessa Rousso have become popular figures with many of the top ranked poker tour players having contract tie-ins with Poker Stars.
With many women loving football, basketball, and other top U.S. sports, it would seem a natural opportunity to enhance their interest with the entertainment and excitement value of sports betting as well.
I’m betting that WBNA wagering becomes a bigger menu force for all sportsbooks this summer, with many women sticking around to wager upon the Steelers, Packers, and the Crimson Tide in the fall. Here’s hoping that PointsBet and the top sportsbooks recognize the unique opportunity and offer the ladies an extra bonus incentive for signing-up. Besides, what guy wouldn’t love to be with a gal who knows what vigorish, a parlay and a bad beat really means.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.