Raising the Stakes: How Sports Betting is Revolutionizing Women’s Sports

For rights holders, sports betting is a dream come true…

Betting = increased audience = more exposure to ads = more revenue.

And another thing…

It’s not just about boosting popular leagues like the NFL and NBA.

But also giving a chance to new ones (including on the female side).

  • 2022 sportsbook handle = $96 billion
  • 2023 sportsbook handle = $120 billion

Let’s Dive In 👇

Betting Keeps Viewers Engaged

Sports betting is inherently social…

It even encourages fans to engage with games for their entire duration (even if it’s a blowout).

sports fans watch games longer with a bet

As you can see — viewers are much more likely to keep watching when they have a bet on the game.


Because bettors still can bet on individual players and specific statistical achievements.

We’re even seeing networks keep blowout games on air (and sportsbook companies adding more in-game bets).

A big reason for this…

Fantasy Sports

It’s wild when you look at the number of people who participate in fantasy sports.

The US has 62 million fantasy sports players, while India has over 150 million (up from 2 million in 2015).

number of fantasy sports users
data: statista, chart: profluence

Fantasy sports have created many dynamics:

  • care about every at-bat
  • who is on your fantasy team
  • the player who you’re wagering on

And this has even played a part in the NFL adding an extra game to the season (more tickets + games to bet on).

Betting is the true buzzword of “fan engagement” everyone likes to talk about.

Betting Increases Fan Engagement

As fans invest money in their wagers, they get more invested in the games and their outcomes.

They become more likely to follow the games regularly, give attention to sports channels, and maybe even attend more games in person.

It’s also a net positive for local economies — as bettors show up to bars to watch games.

sports gamblers at a bar

Overall, the more people get excited about sports, the more money they spend on them.

Yahoo Sports certainly believes this with their recent acquisition of Wagr, a peer-to-peer sports betting app focused on the social aspect.

And I believe this next statement is true as well…

Betting Is Good for Women’s Sports

Viewership for women’s sports is up across the board — and sports betting undoubtedly is a BIG reason for this.

ESPN’s NCAAW March Madness Tournament Challenge saw 103% growth in 2021 compared to 2019.


More than twice the number of people who filled out a women’s tournament bracket in 2019 did so in 2021.

This chart helps illustrate the point of sports betting equates to greater sports viewership:

sports gamblers watch more sports when betting on a game

In the US, over 4.6 million women signed up for mobile sports betting apps in 2021, an increase of 115% from 2020.

At DraftKings, bets on women’s sports are up 61% year-over-year (and the amount of money in wagers accepted on women’s sports is up 22%).

Going Forward

It’s hard to believe mobile sports betting has only been legal for 5 years.

And also that…

It’s still only fully approved in 24 states.

us graph of states allowing mobile sports betting

And think about this…

Women make up 40% of all athletes (but only 4% of sports media coverage).

The winning formula:

Increase media coverage, open up betting lines + fantasy sports, and women’s sports become attractive.

I’m not much of a sports gambler myself, but I see how it’s good for emerging sports leagues (especially on the women’s side).

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