MLB Returns With Sports Betting App
Major League Baseball has marked its return with the release of a dedicated gaming app that allows users to bet on the results of games as they watch. Launched as a part of the franchise’s deal with BetMGM, the app doesn’t allow real money wagers though still offers cash prizes.
Fans will be able to bet on everything from the results of games to plays within games. Rather than winning cash outright, players earn points based on their correct predictions. When enough points have been accumulated, players will be able to trade points in for cash rewards.
The release comes two years after Major League Baseball (MLB) entered its first official gaming partnership with casino operator MGM Resorts. While league officials have stressed that there will be no real money sports betting element integrated into the apps, it’s expected BetMGM will benefit from the exposure to the league’s fans.
“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers. Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”– Rob Manfred, Commissioner, MLB in a league press release
There’s a possibility, too, that MLB will pivot toward real money sports betting as the season progresses. According to league Commissioner Rob Manfred, 40 percent of its funds come from gate sources, including ticketing, food and beverage, and parking fees. With stadium capacities extremely limited this year, 2020 will leave MLB cash-strapped.
Another motivator could be a 2019 report that found that major professional sports leagues could stand to make more money from sports betting deals than gate revenues by 2030. Prior to signing with MLB, MGM Resorts already created similar agreements with the NFL and NHL.
In order to fulfill its marketing agreements, the MLB announced Monday that it would allow on-field advertising during games this season. This will include digitally imposed ads that can be changed depending on the location of the broadcast. There’s been no confirmation of whether a sports betting app will be advertised.
To ensure audiences stay engaged at home as the season progresses, the BetMGM app will add extra features to appeal to younger fans. This includes providing more than 3 million videos to its users to create personalized highlight reels of their favorite MLB moments that can be seamlessly shared through social media.
The franchise has also partnered with Snapchat to provide an augmented reality experience of live broadcasts and previous moments. This will give fans exhilarating perspectives of games, whether that be through the eyes of a live fieldside spectator, a player, or even the ball itself.
The release will hopefully bring some good publicity to BetMGM, after a human error resulted in record-breaking losses to its Bellagio Las Vegas sportsbook. Coincidentally, the losses were incurred by opportunistic bettors wagering on already started games of international baseball leagues.
Fox Sports App Revamped
Fox Sports has also released a major overhaul to its app in time for the return of MLB. In addition to being able to live stream games, the app has integrated features to suit bettors. Provided by the Fox Bet Sportsbook, users will have access to real-time wagering odds throughout the app.
According to David Katz, the Executive Vice President of Fox Sports, the company is aiming to push their sports betting products harder in both the Fox Sports app and independently. As the market continues to grow in the US, Katz notes that both features can work symbiotically to boost engagement with each other.
Fox Bet became the fourth authorized gaming operator of the MLB in 2019. The agreement allows the platform to use official league data and logos in its apps. Recently, the MLB also signed an agreement with Costa Rican operator Betcris to become its official wagering partner of Latin America.
Betcris will also receive the right to use official league data as well as permission to use MLB branding. The company is now set to create a free-play platform like the BetMGM product and will be promoted throughout Latin American countries where it is licensed during key league events.
A report has projected that MLB could make over $1 billion annually from sports betting. Most of the estimated money is set to come from increased consumption and engagement with the league as a result of legal sports betting rather than the operators directly.