A closer look at those likely to bet on the Olympics

Oliver RoweGlobal Sector Head ‑ Leisure & Entertainment
March 17, 2021, 5:31 PM UTC

The Olympic Summer Games are one of the most important events on the sporting calendar, which means it’s mightily important for the gambling industry as well.

The Games in Tokyo, first postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, are scheduled to begin in July and officials remain confident that will not change – even if the latest reports suggest they may take place with no foreign spectators.

Using our Profiles tool, YouGov can create an audience of possible Olympic betters and delve into the demographic makeup, attitudes, and media consumption habits of this group. For this, we will take a look at an audience who has placed a bet on an event either online or in person over the last 12 months and who is interested in the Olympic Summer Games.

For starters, Baby Boomers are under-represented in this group (24%), compared to Gen Xers (34%) and Millennials (34%). And this group is overwhelmingly male (80% versus 20% women).

Consumers in this group are likely to be higher-income earners, reporting household income to be between 75% and 200% of the national median, or higher. 

So, how can betting brands reach this lucrative audience? Generally, this group is more receptive to advertising compared to the general UK public, attitudinal data from YouGov shows. They are more likely to say they take notice of who sponsors sporting events and more likely to pay attention to ads at events.

Much of this group say television adverts stand the best chance of catching their attention. Our data also indicates a plurality think it’s important that TV commercials are memorable, informative about the product, and funny. And to go a step further, YouGov Profiles data suggests this group overwhelmingly enjoys humour around observations of everyday life.

This segment is also receptive to online advertising, including those in apps, social networks, websites, and on-demand TV services. They are more likely than the general UK population to have used apps from the Financial Times, The Sun, and the Daily Record in the last 30 days.

International sporting events like the Olympics are a boon for bookies. These events capture the attention of those who wouldn’t otherwise be interested in sports in general, or betting. 

But betting also increases engagement levels around an event. Looking at the UK population in general, roughly one in seven agree that betting makes them feel more engaged with sports, YouGov data suggests.

Medal count among nations will be the most popular wager for those interested in putting some money on the table, but gamblers will be able to makes things more interesting by placing bets on specific events, even if they’re nor familiar with the sport in question.

Athletics, football, boxing, swimming and cycling are the top Olympic sports followed among the group of Brits who have gambled on events and are interested in the games, our data shows, perhaps giving an indication of where the biggest markets may emerge in 2021. With increased usage of smartphones and a raft of easy-to-use apps to place bets, there’s a good chance we’ll see more betting action this summer.

It’s also worth noting that by the time the Games are scheduled to begin, it’s very likely lockdown measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 will be eased in the UK. Several possible factors, such as a rebounding economy and fewer people staying inside, may affect betting behaviours around the Olympics, making the betting market around the Olympics more unpredictable than ever this year.

Image: Getty

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