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Microbetting Helping Drive MLB Playoffs Interest

Microbetting accounted for more than $260 million in handle this year, according to Simplebet’s data, and Bevilacqua indicated that DraftKings and Betr were key beneficiaries of that surge.

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I’ve bet on every game in the World Series and many games during the MLB Playoffs so far, despite not having watched more than a few seconds of it. And I’m not alone.

The Major League Baseball playoff ratings this year have been higher than they were a season ago, according to the data from the wildcard and divisional rounds. Viewership is up, even more than it was during the regular season.

While the inclusion of the Yankees is absolutely part of the reason for the increase in interest, so is the ability to bet on the events. Not only are typical game result bets up, even more traction has been seen on the microbetting scene.

I watched the divisional round but lost interest in the playoffs when my Braves were unceremoniously dumped out by the Phillies. That said, I’ve still been betting on games. Whether it be money line plays or player total base wagers from a friend, I’ve kept engaged without watching and have checked out some highlights later.

But one thing I haven’t done is wager on the speed of a particular pitch. In fact, I’d never even thought about doing so. Or thought about it becoming an option.

So imagine my surprise when last week I read that DraftKings had received regulatory approval in nearly every state (minus Indiana, New York, and Virginia) to offer an over/under bet on the speed of each pitch of the first game of the World Series. It’s a novel concept and one that absolutely will keep viewers engaged during the game.

We discussed a few weeks ago how Betr was hoping to capitalize on the rise of microbetting in sports, but even I am surprised at just how quickly it’s evolved into something like this. Chris Bevilacqua, the CEA and co-founder of Simplebet, told SportTechie in an interview last week that bets tied to microbet data have accounted for 43% of all wagers placed during the MLB postseason.

Microbetting accounted for more than $260 million in handle this year, according to Simplebet’s data, and Bevilacqua indicated that DraftKings and Betr were key beneficiaries of that surge. September saw quite a bit of microbetting action on Aaron Judge’s pursuit of 62 home runs alone, which is a key reason why DraftKings made up some significant ground on FanDuel during the course of the month.

The setup for Betr, the venture co-founded by Jake Paul, allows for a nearly seamless all-in-one betting experience, with graphical depictions of the in-game action happening below the betting lines. It’s a crude attempt at what ESPN hopes to achieve with their future same-app integration, but it’s a successful one.

And it’s working. Data has shown that Betr is catching on with younger players, and that’s translating to the MLB playoff data as well. According to Front Office Sports, viewership among the 18-34 year old demographic is up more than 22% from a year ago. It’s also up more than nine percent with fans aged 17 and younger who, while unable to legally bet, make up the next generation of sports bettors and baseball fans.

For a sport that struggles with dead time and pace-of-play issues, microbetting provides a way to keep the attention of younger fans. It does raise some questions, however, as to how the upcoming pitch clock rules will impact the ability to place bets on something such as pitch speed. Given players need time to process data and place a wager, the window becomes extremely small–especially if you’re not at the game and have to deal with data lag. With a pitch clock as short as 15 seconds next year, that will become near impossible for some individuals.

Still, wagering on the speed of an individual pitch presents yet another intriguing avenue for sports betting content. I can already anticipate TikTok videos breaking down the frequency of Justin Verlander throwing off-speed pitches on 0-2 counts, or how often he throws a fastball in full count situations. How long before we get a YouTube live stream breaking down every single reliever’s tendencies as he’s tossing his warm-up pitches?

“The vision is to enable any bet imaginable in real time,” Bevilacqua told SportsTechie last week. Betting on the speed of a pitch is just the start down a road that may not have an end. What’s next? Betting on how far out Steph Curry’s next three-point attempt will come from? Who will take the next shot in a soccer match? Whether a receiver will line up on the left side of the formation or the right side?

While it’s a market I probably won’t partake much in, I am interested to see how creative some of these wager types become. More so, I’m interested to see how content is created to take advantage of the booming market that microbetting is providing. While it’ll be difficult for traditional media to capitalize on it due to the advice needing to be up-to-date with the data at hand, I can see it becoming an area where live shows and social media aficionados can gain some traction.

Whatever the reason behind the viewership, Major League Baseball is thankful for the uptick in eyeballs and seems to be embracing the microbetting future. I look forward to seeing how other sports further embrace the trend–and just much it can change the game.

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Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Demetri Ravanos

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Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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