Is Sports Wagering Business Really The Savior Of Sports-Focused TV Networks, Pay TV Services?

Sports betting has been positioned as the savior for much that is missing in live TV programming. The not-so-secret ingredient is that you need not just ordinary sports content, but high-profile sports content as a base to make it all work.

And there is more to do.

For all the sports-minded wannabe platforms -- Sinclair Broadcast Group's Bally Sports regional TV networks; the sport-focused virtual pay TV provider fuboTV, NBC Sports regional networks, or bigger national TV platforms such as Fox Sports -- you need to prepare hard for what is more necessary: Heavy-duty marketing.

A hint of this came from a cautionary note in a recent 10K SEC filing from the publicly traded fuboTV: “Achieving growth in our community of users may require us to increasingly engage in sophisticated and costly sales and marketing efforts [emphasis added], which may not generate a sufficient return on investment.”



So it's not as if we can just start running over/under odds, or more granular waging content -- such as how many strikeouts the New York Mets' Jacob deGrom will get in a specific game, or how many rebounds and assets Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green will get against the Phoenix Suns during a playoff run.

Turning on the sports-betting content doesn’t mean pursuing hardcore sports wagerers. It means getting those who have rarely ever considered placing a bet.

Some of that makes sense -- especially that there is a wide range of sports gambling operators out there -- independent businesses, new TV network-owned units, legacy Las-Vegas-based operations or other things n between.

For fuboTV there is also an issue around whether it can dramatically grow advertising revenue.

The good news is that the immediacy of live TV programming is still something marketers use in countering a growing connected TV world full of scripted and unscripted programming that consumers can watch on their own schedules.

All this becomes more valuable if you overlay the other business revenue tranche of sports wagering.

But here is a key question that is yet to be definitively answered. What is the real total addressable market for these potential existing and new wagering consumers?

And what if -- as the fuboTV filing suggests -- there is not a “sufficient” return?

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