In-game wagering is coming to a sports betting app in the very near future near you. That’s just part of the news that came out this week as the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced they would be partnering with IMG Arena to bring a new betting experience called UFC Event Centre.
IMG will be using the full suite of UFC info including fighter bios, photos, logos and official data in order to offer a variety of betting options that operators across the country will be able to incorporate into their sportsbooks and online gambling apps.
And in a nod to the future of gambling, there will be 20 in-game live bets that gamblers will be able to wager on. Some of those betting options include the total amount of time a fighter spends on the mat, total strikes landed, total take-down attempts and if a fighter gets knocked down.
In making the announcement, UFC’s Chief Operating Officer, Lawrence Epstein expressed that they have hit the “sweet spot” of sports betting, given these options and how the majority of their fan base is men between the ages of 21 and 44. It also helps that UFC tournaments continue year-round, as opposed to the other sports who have an offseason.
“We’re for anything that increases fan engagement,” said Epstein.
UFC has taken a different approach from the other sports leagues as they venture into the lucrative world of sport betting. The UFC model will see them licence their logos and offerings in one package and partnership. The other leagues have created multiple licensing streams, offering logos with some companies and betting options with others.
The UFC model will allow them to charge sportsbooks both a licensing fee for the right to use this new software and give them a share of the betting revenues in order to access the tools that IMG Arena will be building.
In-game betting has really taken off throughout Europe, especially in tennis and soccer and now North American sports are trying to capitalize on a trend that has multiple opportunities. On the one hand it creates many new kinds of betting opportunities for gamblers and that provides a stream of licensing and technology revenues. On another hand, there are the media programs being built around all these new options to better educate gamblers. And finally, it brings more eyes to the screens for longer periods of time since they have even more reason to watch.
Consider it a win-win-win.