Not many North American sports embrace sports betting. They want to, but they are still sceptical of the pros and cons. The National Hockey League is an outlier as it now has three official sports betting partners, which highlights the NHL’s commitment to the new approach.
Times are changing, and in ice hockey’s case, they are changing for the better. It appears that the methodology is working, even if it is a little too soon to tell. This is not only excellent news for the sport but also the other games that are sitting on the fence. These are the reasons why.
An Expanding Fan Base
Sports are their own entities, but they also have to compete with their rivals to win the hearts and minds of fans. It’s a catch-22 because, without the viewing and attendance figures, the money that keeps basketball, American football and baseball alive would disappear. Thankfully for the NHL, they don’t fall into this category.
One of the reasons for this is the impact sports betting has had on supporter numbers throughout North America. Primarily seen as a Canadian pastime, ice hockey only has a handful of hockey-crazed hot spots within the US, including Chicago and Detroit. However, Las Vegas has recently been added to the list due to the impact of the Vegas Golden Knights, a franchise that theguardian.com believes has the most remarkable story in sports.
Part of the reason the NHL expanded into the Vegas market was due to the city’s history with organised gambling. If the VGK are anything to go by, the rise of hockey in the US will continue to flourish.
Another Way to Get Involved
Fans are always searching for ways to interact with their favourite teams. To them, being able to show their support is a privilege like no other. At the turn of the 2010s, social media provided the best avenue for this as professional athletes and fans could interact directly. As a result, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have thrived.
Sports betting is having a similar effect, even if it isn’t as personal. By betting on the outcome of a game, supporters can engage in the industry, and the more involved they are, the more likely they are to watch and show interest. This is only heightened by the large volume of bonuses on offer, with bonus.ca reporting on everything from free real money bets to profit boosters for an endless variety of sports events.
Thanks to the freebies on offer, the accessibility for viewers is greater than ever. Therefore, more fans are supporting the NHL via a myriad of avenues.
It’s Not Tied-in
Of course, the NHL wants to avoid the pitfalls and only deal with the positives. Usually, this is impossible because any type of relationship brings headaches. However, the National Hockey League appears to have formed a mutually-beneficial relationship by making sure sports betting exists in its own right.
In comparison to the Alliance of American Football, this is a different strategy as the AAF includes sports betting as part of the game and business model. Usatoday.com explains in a detailed report that it’s tied-in, whereas the NHL can seemingly have its cake and eat it too at the moment.
Will that change? It depends on the perception of the gambling industry and the uptake among fans and viewers in the future. Currently, however, hockey is stealing a march on its closest competitors.