When the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Act of 1992 in May 2018, the sports betting industry exploded, opening the door for entrepreneurs and businesses to explore the massive stream of revenue generated by individuals gambling on games and teams. But by the time the law changed, Sean Green had already been offering advice and insights to would-be bettors for more than seven years as co-host of the Sports Gambling Podcast.
With the 2017 launch of LIR Industries, a sports-related podcast channel that does business as the Sports Gambling Podcast Network (SGPN), Green was poised to become an authority on this area of the sports business.
Green and SGPN co-founder Ryan Kramer has spent the past five years enhancing their reputation as sports betting experts, deploying the $200,000 he won the same year in a daily fantasy sports competition to pay for platform infrastructure and logistics, as well as assemble a team of commentators to provide the company’s growing audience with additional information and insights.
According to ESPN, American sportsbooks accepted nearly $60 billion in wagers in 2021, generating more than $4.3 billion in revenue. These numbers are attracting companies keen to enter this growing market – California, for example, is set to vote on legalizing gambling in 2022.
But consumers looking for the best way to win, let alone win big, need expert advice. Green and Kramer saw an opportunity.
“Our podcast was really just an extension of the hobby of talking about games in a very amateurish way,” Kramer told the Business Journal.
Green said their own time as rookies looking for commentators to lean on helped shape their eventual business model.
“There are a lot of people who claim to be great experts, they charge the public a lot of money for their picks, and then they deliver nothing,” Green said.
“All of our podcasts, our web posts, the app, everything we post is completely free, so our credibility just depends on being completely transparent. We keep track of all our choices, so you can go to the website and see our records if we win or lose.
As scrappy as their operation may have once seemed, its progress to date has given them a credibility that younger shows and podcasts have yet to earn, even when their competitors feature hosts or commentators with a pedigree that has looks good on paper.
“A lot of these new game shows take a former sideline reporter and turn them into a gaming expert,” Green said. “They can do their research, but I think the public hears them and says, ‘That person didn’t sweat 16 parlays in his garage in 2013.'”
“It’s more about connecting with your audience in a way that they want to win with you as much as they want to lose with you,” Kramer added.
The camaraderie they generated with listeners paid off: between 2017 and 2021, SGPN’s revenue increased tenfold, as did its total podcast downloads, from 350,000 for all of 2018 to 3. .1 million in 2021. And they show no signs of slowing down, expecting to hit 1 million downloads in 2022 by the end of February.
“And generally, January and February are pretty slow months for us,” Green said, though he admitted their proximity to Super Bowl LVI definitely helped, leading to not only being accredited for the media week of the Super Bowl, but ultimately to athlete interviews with former NFL players LeGarrette Blount, Bill Romanowski, Eric Metcalf, Adam “Pacman” Jones and Joe Theismann, and former NBA player John Salley.
Kramer went on to explain that as the SGPN grew in popularity, they expanded their commentary team. While he and Green authoritatively cover both college and pro football and college basketball, they’ve hired contributors to focus on finer details about those leagues, as well as sports they’re less familiar with. familiar ones, such as mixed martial arts and NASCAR. This approach allowed the network to expand its offering to 17 different shows.
“We have a third guy who joins us on the show talking about college sports because he’s kind of like a scholar when it comes to some of them,” Kramer said. “There’s what, 300 division one college basketball teams, but he’s really going a long way with this stuff.”
Most recently, they invited former Olympic gold medalist Joe Polo to join them for a discussion on betting odds for curling, scheduled to take place during the 2022 Winter Games.
The competition heats up
Green and Kramer said they took no investment, building their podcast network solely through gradual but steady growth. SGPN generates revenue primarily from advertising, largely for sports betting or gambling-related services, followed by alcohol, cryptocurrency, and “men’s lifestyle” products.
“The type of people who listen to the sports betting podcast, you know the demographics immediately and you know immediately what they like,” Kramer said.
Although the network does not yet attract the same number of subscribers as its corporate-sponsored competitors, SGPN’s relative longevity in the space has given Green and Kramer an edge as sports betting handicappers and a more informed perspective on an industry and an audience that has become more sharply defined even as it continues to expand.
“I still remember back in 2017 when Fox set up a TV studio inside Westgate sportsbook for March Madness,” Kramer recalls. “Before, nobody talked about it. And now when you watch SportsCenter, you can’t watch those shows without them mentioning the spread, because they have an editorial sponsor.
“When we were doing our shows in 2014, we weren’t competing with NBC Sports. There was no action network,” Green added. “So the appetites are growing, the competitions are growing, but I think what’s cool about us and what people gravitate toward is that we’re really independent. And we don’t get kicked out by NBC and ESPN. We hold on. »
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