MMA promoter UFC has given the go-ahead of a live-betting gambling product that will try to capitalize on the interest in the league and introduce an alternative, and reliable way for fans to bet on fights.
The promoter is preparing for the move in light of the upcoming UFC Event Center IMG Arena. UFC is hoping to bank on the interest in fights and specifically claw traffic from sportsbooks by promoting its offer as the most reliable out there, thanks to official UFC data.
To boost its offer, UFC will work on an entire suite that will come with detailed breakdown of fighter’s fighting career, pictures, and other relevant statistics. Yet, UFC won’t go it alone entirely, and instead the company will rely on betting agencies to incorporate the software solution into their own sportsbooks and apps.
This comes at a moment when ESPN and Disney Studios are examining their media right deals with the organization.
Tying Up Betting and Marketing Partnership in One
Any sportsbook that takes up UFC on its offer will also sign a marketing deal, saving the organization the hassle of having a separate betting and branding partnerships. This has usually been the case so far with other big American leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, and the MLB which have signed separate partnerships.
If betting markets have been difficult to find on UFC events in the past, moving forward there will be 50 different wager-types per individual fight, which includes the 20 in-play wagers updated in real-time.
UFC COO Lawrence Epstein had this to say for Bloomberg, commenting on the focus on live betting: “In-game betting is the fastest-growing part of the sports-gaming industry. Some of the stuff we’re doing is stuff that hasn’t been done with respect to UFC in the past.”
Lack of In-Play Options Limits UFC Fans
UFC’s forays into the in-play segment are not a whim. IMG Arena has reported that mere 8% of all bets in UFC are placed after a game starts – a surprisingly low number. According to the company, the number is 70% for sports such as tennis.
This is due mostly to lack of options. Mainstream sportsbooks don’t bother with developing a comprehensive offer for UFC, a problem that UFC has decided to address itself rather than appealing to sportsbooks.
To improve all of this, UFC has introduced interesting betting options, such as which fighter will win by a knock-out, how many strikes will be exchange in total or by player each, and how long a player will spend on the mat.
Knowing that MMA has some of the younger demographics in sports – with the average fan being between 21 – 44 years old – UFC will not be offering their product for free. Any sportsbooks that wants to feature the in-play betting suite will need to pay a fee.