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NHL Commissioner: Gen Z Wants So Much More Than Just Games

Jordan Bondurant

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As Big Tech continues to expand its footprint in live sports, America’s major college conferences and professional sports leagues are trying to navigate the waters and embrace these companies as important media partners.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg that he thinks it’s exciting to see companies like Apple and Amazon step in to fill a gap widened by traditional TV.

“It’s an opportunity, and there’s going to be more forms of competition,” Bettman said in a conversation with Scarlet Fu and Jason Kelly. “The marketplace in some respects is contracting, but overall it’s expanding. So the traditional methods may be contracting a little bit, not going to zero, but the adjustment provides us opportunities to do other things.”

Bettman added that it’s evident these massive corporations are trying to strike while the iron is hot and that the key to being profitable with their respective products will be in what live sports offerings they can give to consumers.

“The Apple’s, the Amazon’s, the Peacock’s of the world, are taking, and Netflix still hasn’t dipped its toe in sports, but at some point they may conclude that that’s the way to go,” he said. “I think sports may be driving some of these streaming services as they go forward.”

The younger generation of sports fans are influencing the shift in the rise of streaming. Over the last five years or more, cord cutting has become the new normal. But Bettman sees that providing an affordable outlet for these fans isn’t enough. That’s why the NHL has worked to put together limited series like Road to the Winter Classic and Road to the Stanley Cup, that go beyond just the on-ice product.

“But also when you’re looking at the millennials and the Gen Z’s, they want more than just the games now. They want behind the scenes,” he said. “It’s about giving a look at our players and our game from a vantage point that when I was the equivalent age of a Gen Z, you could only imagine what was it like to be inside of a locker room to see the players getting ready…And that’s what our younger fans are demanding and frankly, I think it’s good for the game, particularly for our game based on our players for them to see that.”

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Sports Online

NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Launching Podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Dirty Mo Media

“New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media has announced a podcast deal with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin will host Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin on a weekly basis during the NASCAR season. The Actions Detrimental branding is verbiage used by NASCAR for fines assessed to drivers for their disparaging comments about the sport. Known as one of NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers, Hamlin has been fined several times under the “actions detrimental to stock car racing” statutes.

New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.

Denny Hamlin jokingly thanked Dirty Mo Media for the “opportunity and the fat check” the company wrote for him to host the podcast in a Twitter announcement.

The 42-year-old Hamlin has won 48 races during his 18-year NASCAR Cup Series career. In addition to serving as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he co-owns 23XI Racing with basketball legend Michael Jordan.

The podcast is the latest in an expansion of content produced by the Mooresville, North Carolina-based digital outlet. After beginning with The Dale Jr. Download, the company has grown to include other podcasts like Door, Bumper, Clear, and Speed Street, as well as video projects like The Next Level.

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Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts

“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”

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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.

“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”

The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.

Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.

“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”

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Sports Online

Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field

“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.

The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.

Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.

According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.

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