Sports Betting — Who's The Best Target Audience For It?

BY Kathy Crosett
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With each passing year, more states are opening the door to sports betting. What was once considered taboo is now an established industry. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM have become household names, but plenty of other marketers, your clients included, are spending big money to connect with audiences. Currently, 36 states have legalized it in some way.

Online Sports Betting Demographics

Many consumers have personally bet on sports. Pew Research data indicates that about 15% have spent money in a private betting pool with friends, or family members. Another 8% go to casinos, racetracks, or betting kiosks to wager on their favorite teams. And another 6% are using an online betting app, sportsbook or casino to score a win. These numbers amount to about 20% of the U.S. population and show the market size.

Overall, about 24% of U.S. adult men and 15% of women participate in sports betting and gambling. By race and ethnic group, the numbers break out as follows:

  • White — 18% (18% of White adults have bet in the last year.)
  • Black — 27%
  • Hispanic — 24%
  • Asian — 18%

WestwoodOne reports that 80% of consumers interested in this form of betting fall into the 21-​to-​54 age bracket. Analysts say that consumers aged 55 and up are showing more interest in sports betting. In the past year, the number of older consumers who indicated interest jumped from 13% to 20%. AudienceSCAN data shows similar data and reveals that 40% of this audience has a household income that exceeds $100,000.

Regardless of the negative perception, plenty of consumers are interested in sports betting. Overall, about 56% of U.S. adults are aware that sports betting is gradually becoming legal in this country. Consumers have opinions on this trend, with 34% feeling it is a bad thing for society. Consumers with this negative opinion are more likely to be older, highly educated, and earning a higher-​than-​average income.

Sports Betting Advertising

During the first ten months of 2022, at least 400 gambling advertisers spent more than $738 million on advertising. Of that amount, 69% was directed into traditional media and national spending: broadcast TV, cable TV, and print.

This spending has attracted significant attention and increased brand awareness. But as the life cycle of the business matures, analysts expect marketers to shift some of their media budgets to digital and target formats where they can focus on generating a better ROI and reach a wider audience. Specifically, Flutter Entertainment noted that they hoped to “persuade more women to participate in sports betting.”

Media Formats that Deliver a Win

In addition, marketers should know that AM/​FM radio listeners are more likely than TV viewers to place online sports bets, Westwoodone​.com reports. According to Kantar, for every dollar spent on AM/​FM radio, $24 is spent on TV. As a result, the Maru/​Matchbox study points out that a good media mix might be AM/​FM radio 52%/TV 48%, arguing that most TV watchers are over age 50, while most online sports gamblers are under that age.

Marketers should explore placing advertising on radio stations with a rock format, as 20% of those listeners are somewhat or very interested in online sport betting. Don’t let your clients limit their media buying to the radio format. Podcast listeners are also into it. In fact, up to 40% of sports bettors tune into their favorite podcasts regularly. They tend to favor the news/​government/​history topics (18%) and comedy (17%).

Legal sports betting is a new industry, and marketers are buying advertising to grow market share. Help your clients win by showing them which media formats to buy and which consumers to target.