NFL key to customer acquisition, Kambi report reveals

20 February 2019

Kambi Group’s review of the 2018-19 National Football League (NFL) season reveals that a strong product offering covering the league is crucial for operators looking to establish themselves in the nascent US sports betting market.

The report, compiled using betting data and trends from Kambi’s network of partners in all markets that have legalised sports betting, reveals that 47% of bettors placed their first wager on the NFL.

Coming in a distant second was Major League Baseball (MLB), which accounted for 18% of first bets, followed by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competitions, on which 14% of punters placed their first bets.

Kambi said that since the launch of legal wagering in July 2018, two-thirds of handle was generated from the major US sports leagues, the NFL, MLB, NCAA, National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL).

However the NFL again outstrips the competition, with 90% of punters placing at least one wager on the league. With this pool of bettors accounting for 98% of all bets placed on the NFL, this suggests a mix of casual and regular players. Just under a quarter of all players only bet on the league, accounting for 4% of market handle.

The NFL is also the only league that sees per-minute handle increase during half-time, with 15% of handle generated during breaks in play, even though this only takes up 8% of the total game time.

In terms of the most popular bets placed, wagering on the points spread (including overtime) is the most popular both in-venue and online. Players will tend to bet on the top offer during the first half across both channels, but second half bets are more likely to be placed in-venue.

Looking to the other leagues, MLB and NBA bettors, tend to be more focused on their sport than NFL bettors. While less than 50% of players bet at least once on each sport (48% for MLB and 49% for NBA), they account for more than 80% of handle for each. Around 18% of players bet on all major sports leagues, accounting for 54% of amounts wagered.

Players also looked beyond the US to continue betting after league games ended, with the English Premier League proving to be particularly popular. The competition accounted for 47.8% of in-game handle in the 60 minutes following the end of NFL games, and 9% of total market handle once the US professional sports leagues and NCAA competitions had been taken out. 

Read the full report from Kambi below