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Is SportTrade Creating The Future Of Sports Betting?

“They go live in New Jersey at the end of this year, with plans to launch in other states shortly after.”

Scott Seidenberg

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Getty/SportTrade

Let’s say you placed a wager on the 76ers last week to cover the spread against the Atlanta Hawks. After taking a 26 point lead, your bet looked pretty good right? Not so fast, as Lee Corso would say. Atlanta stormed back and defeated the Sixers 109-106. Not only did Philly fail to cover, but they lost the game outright. Wouldn’t it have be great to cash out your winnings whenever you want? That’s the basic theory behind SportTrade, a new betting and trading exchange where you trade sports bets like the stock market. 

Cashing out early is nothing new to online wagering. Apps like FanDuel, DraftKings and Pointsbet all offer some sort of early cash out option, allowing you to settle your bet for less than the full payout, depending on the books current odds on the wager. However, many of these cash out options are limited to certain times of the game. Most of them will also not allow cash outs towards the end of games. That’s where the SportTrade exchange separates themselves. Since you’re trading your position, much like a stock, there is no limit to when you can buy or sell. All you are dealing with is the fluctuation in price. 

Photo Credit: SportTrade

Alex Kane, CEO of SportTrade explains what a Sports Betting Exchange is, and how it differentiates itself from traditional sports betting. 

“Lets say you want to bet the Phillies against the Nationals. Max Scherzer is starting so maybe the Phillies are a slight underdog and the market has priced the Phillies contracts at $48. That implies a 48% chance to win because at the end of the game, we will settle all the contracts if the Phillies win at 100, and if they lose at 0. What a betting exchange allows you to do is trade throughout the game. So let’s say the Phillies have a good first couple of innings, and you bought 10 contracts on the Phillies to win at $48. That’s a $480 investment. Two innings into the game, its 3-0 Phillies, and according to the market, the Phillies go from a 48% to 78% chance to win the game. Now as a participant you say ‘oh I bought 10 contracts at 48, and now I want to sell them at 78 and make a $30 profit per contract’. Those 10 contracts equal 300 bucks. That’s what it allows you to do that’s fundamentally different. You simply have the ability to trade on the probability of these sporting events to occur. And you could do it the way that you trade stocks. You can actually day trade the game rather than a traditional sportsbook where you place your bet and wait.”

Imagine that, day trading on sports betting. You could sit there with your app open, and in real time see the fluctuation of your positions. Picture yourself on an NFL Sunday, having multiple games going at the same time and watching the real market value of your money increasing, or decreasing, by the second. This is nothing new to people familiar with finance and SportTrade is banking on the crossover between sports bettors and traders. 

“Initially the target is certainly someone that has used apps like Robinhood or Coinbase and really appreciates that simple, approachable user interface and understands if I buy something at 10 and then I sell the thing at 20, that’s good for me,” Kane says. “Or if I buy something at 30 and now it’s trading at 20, that’s bad. That’s certainly the target customer and we’ve seen just how big that crossover is between someone that trades financial products and someone that’s betting on sports. Just look at Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports. He became Davey Day Trader during the pandemic. He went from sports betting to a day trading expert overnight. And you saw how many of his Barstool audience embraced it, whether on Robinhood, Coinbase, E-Trade, Schwab or elsewhere. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

I really like this idea. But I think the value finds itself more in the futures market. Prop Swap is a company that helps facilitate the sale and purchase of futures tickets. But what if you constantly saw the price on your bet change throughout the season, and were able to sell at any time? Let’s say you bet on the Suns to win the NBA Championship at the start of the season. The sportsbooks keep adjusting odds but your bet is your bet.

Photo Credit: SportTrade

If you got it at +850, when the book adjusts it at some point throughout the season to +1000, you don’t get that extra money, you are locked in at +850. But what if you saw the value of your “position” grow with every win? As the Suns creep closer to the NBA Finals, you’re watching your money grow and grow like GameStop Stock in January. You can choose to sell and lock in your profits. 

“I think that relative to the other activity on our sites, we, in comparison to our competitors, we’ll probably have the highest percentage of volume going to futures,” says Kane. “So look, if you think about this, I can buy the Phillies to win the World Series on SportTrade or I can bet them to win the World Series on DraftKings. Why the hell would I choose to do that? You’re locking up your money. At least on SportTrade it’s a real market value. So like every single game that’s going to update, why not give yourself the option, even if you have no intention of selling out early? Would you rather use a broker that allows you to buy and sell any security at any time, or a broker that says ‘you just bought Facebook, I’ll see you in five weeks?”

Will the sports betting audience embrace this new idea? Will SportTrade compete with the major sports books? Only time will tell. They go live in New Jersey at the end of this year, with plans to launch in other states shortly after. There is certainly big money behind this venture. SportTrade raised $36 million in funding thanks to investors such as Jump Capital, Impression Ventures, Hudson River Trading, Tower Research Ventures, and Jim Murren, former CEO of MGM Resorts International, and Tom Wittman, former CEO of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

With financial backing and a revolutionary idea, SportTrade could become the future of sports betting. 

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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