By Mariah Janos
Women make up almost half of U.S. sports fans yet they represent less than one-third of sports bettors. Are we surprised? Not really.
Just as everything else has gone in the world of sports, betting seemed to appeal to the male masses first. However, as sports betting becomes legalized state-by-state, there is a serious influx of women involved. In the U.S. last year, more than 4.6 million women joined sports betting apps – a 115% increase from 2020, according to a report by Global Wireless Solutions. The number of men on sports betting apps still exceeds the number of women by 250%, but the growth rate of women customers is nearly double than that of men (63%).
The Intimidation Factor
From the outside looking in, sports betting can be extremely intimidating. As a woman, it can be even more intimidating when there is no one like you getting involved in the betting. That’s where the emerging role of sportsbook brand ambassador can make a huge impact. Take BetMGM for example – singing softball phenom and MLB Network personality AJ Andrews as a brand ambassador and content creator.
Andrews has had a unique impact both on and off the field. As a player, Andrews led the Louisiana State University Lady Tigers to two Women’s College World Series appearances. But it didn’t stop there. She was drafted seventh overall by the Chicago Bandits in 2015, and a year later, the outfielder made history with the Akron Racers by becoming the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove award, an honor previously exclusive to the best defensive players in Major League Baseball. Andrews also earned the Rally Spike Award as the National Pro Fastpitch League’s stolen bases leader.
Off the field, Andrews works with non-profit organizations to help mentor and empower young women.
Women In Sports Betting
BetMGM hit a home run by signing Andrews and adding a brand ambassador with her extensive resume. The MGM online brand is one of the top in the industry, with its sportsbook app and the BetMGM Casino app launching across the country.
Female presence is lacking throughout the sports industry from the ground up. This is particularly true in betting, where BetMGM was the first to sign a female athlete to this sort of deal. Putting a spotlight on a strong woman like Andrews has the potential to encourage women who have followed her and looked up to her to get involved in betting. The addition of Andrews can help eliminate the stigma that sports and sports betting is only for the male population.
Bet On Women
Women’s sports have always been underappreciated, never receiving the appropriate amount of attention for the high-level talent and competition. This underappreciation is translating into the betting market as well. According to a UNESCO survey, women make up 40% of all athletes but only 4% of sports media coverage.
But when given a real platform, women’s sports are proven to deliver. Look no further than the NWSL’s recent media rights deal with CBS, when 100% of the league’s games were available to fans for the first time via television or streaming. According to The Fan Project, NWSL viewership grew by 476% in the first year of its new deal, showing the upside in engagement.
Women’s March Madness
This year’s Women’s March Madness Tournament was also proof that it is not too late to give women’s athletics the recognition it deserves. While the women’s tournament did not garner nearly as much attention or bet slips as the Men’s tournament, there was a major uptick in attendance and viewership.
According to DraftKings, the NCAA women’s championship game between South Carolina and UConn on Sunday, April 3, saw the biggest betting handle of the day, greater than any of the professional games offered on the wagering menu – thus proving that a game’s visibility directly correlates to its betting interest regardless of gender.
Some of this falls on the NCAA and its lack of advocacy for women’s athletics. Sticking with the NCAA March Madness tournament, the men get their own CBS and Turner deals. The women’s tournament is packaged with 28 other NCAA championships.
While the NSWL deal and Women’s March Madness tournament are steps in the right direction, handle on women’s sports will only continue to increase as exposure grows.