Sports may be coming back on the calendar, but with social distancing and games played behind closed doors the way fans interact with them won’t necessarily be the same, writes Fantasy Sports Interactive’s Maria Arnidou. Combining the thrill of sports betting with the strategic skill of fantasy sports, could be just what players are looking for.
Things right now are more about than just the return of betting of course, as the whole world slowly returns to normalcy – or to phrase this under the right context, we are all in the process of re-creating a new normalcy and adjusting to it.
The (ongoing) global sports pause, although imperative and of life-or-death importance as with every other public life sector, both hurt and transformed the traditional betting industry as we knew it.
With the vast majority of sports events being postponed or cancelled, sports betting markets naturally became scarce or non-existent, and operators had to turn to alternatives such as esports betting and casino solutions. However, the gap the absence of sports left both to the market and the hearts of sports fans and bettors, became apparent by the increased participation especially in the real sports-based esports markets.
Nowadays, with many sports leagues planning and realizing their comeback (German Bundesliga has already returned) or scheduling training, we can all rejoice at the perspective of “real” matches, with one last – yet significant – obstacle in the way of fans: behind-closed-door fixtures. Another crucial measure, to ensure social distance and safety of athletes and fans as well, nevertheless cancelling any chance of cheering for your favourite team, sharing their joys and woes on site, witnessing goals, assists and fouls.
This new normalcy of social distancing brings consequent change collectively into fans’ lives, betting habits and the overall iGaming and betting industry. We are now able to identify the gap in the market as the lack of opportunity for fan engagement and experiencing the thrill of the Game.
What the sports betting audience needs right now, is an offering that will provide them with the ability to:
• Maintain social distancing and /or quarantine, by playing remotely on all available devices.
• Opt for safe visits to their local betting shops, playing on terminals or paper in retail.
• Actively engage with their team, getting statistics and information, estimating their performance, backing them by betting on them.
• Play on new markets and experience a fresh betting innovation, after the past trends of Cashout and In-Play.
Having thought about and worked thoroughly on what we considered to be the next-gen Betting innovation and next step in Fantasy Sports for a couple of years now, it was easy for the Fantasy Sports Interactive team to feel the pulse of the sports betting audience, and the COVID-19 global lockdown increased our industry awareness.
The Fantasy Sportsbook innovation we introduced back in 2019, combines the fundamentals of sports betting, with the engagement and gaming aspect of fantasy sports.
The revolutionizing factor of the offering is the original Fantasy Odds set that defines FSI’s Fantasy Sportsbook Suite, Fixed-Odds-Fantasy (#FOF).
FSI’s Athletes’ Performance Odds, enable punters to bet on the performance of individual players, instead of betting on bare results. They are based on detailed Athletes’ statistics and FSI’s dedicated Fantasy Scoring System.
The Odds are generated by an original AI-based fantasy odds algorithm, enabling FSI to offer them as a Direct Odds Feed to clients, serving operators in a meaningful way, by providing them the opportunity to launch unique fantasy betting markets and exploit Retail.
Having gained valuable hands-on insight on the commercial potential of Odds-based Fantasy after launching our Fixed-Odds-Fantasy Under/Over format in retail since 2019 with OPAP, we are to provide our Direct Odds Feed Service for multiple betting uses to the rest of our clients, including SG Digital.
Our experience indicates that the popularity of ‘ manager-style ’ video games the last decade, the rise of skill gaming as a notion among “millennials”, and the appeal of betting make the combination of Sportsbook and Fantasy Sports an ideal “remedy” for the contemporary sports fans and bettors of the post- COVID-19 lockdown period.
The answer to the audience’s current demands is both easier and more complex than betting on gaming (esports) and “betting” on casino games: at FSI we have proved that the “glue” between the two seemingly different worlds of iGaming and betting is a dedicated Odds Set, fueling betting innovation and fan engagement, either as a standalone multi-purpose service, or as part of a Sportsbook Gaming Suite.