Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Importance of Betting in Sports



Today’s world of sport is not ruled by frenzied fanatics dressing up in team attire and cheering on their favorite athletes. Sports are not even really controlled by respective athletes either, save some up-and-coming sports not yet in the mainstream. More than anything, it is the almighty dollar the rules sport, and thus money precedes any sport’s global success and thus dictates its path.

Money comes not only from fans and sponsors but also from the betting world. Just like those Wall Street guys playing the futures and derivatives game as a separate sport while the housing market ignited and eventually went supernova, millions of gamblers from the across the globe put their “stock” in sport by way of sports-betting.

Sure, a US casino online or a place like Vegas gets the most notoriety for gambling – games like blackjack and the one-arm bandits. But holding equal ground is the world of sports-betting.

The point: the culture of money surrounding a sport, i.e. its monetary potential, is, more than anything, responsible for a sport’s rise.

Take the game of Texas Hold’em, for example. Here you have a game where the primary purpose is, already, to gamble. It’s simple enough, to be sure, and certainly nothing there to make it a “sport,” right?

Well, not so fast. Because of the insane amount of money surrounding the game, the amount of betting potential every card in every hand from every player offers, and the unabashed pursuit of the prize, poker, seemingly overnight, became an internationally recognized “sport,” with ESPN, the king of sporting news, leading the charge on their central network.

The potential for others outside of the sport to make money was one of the biggest reasons this sport exploded onto the world scene. You’ll find celebrity poker players all over the top 10 online casinos and throughout every major land-based poker room in the country. They’re stars of sport now, and the outside money is what lifted the platform to such heights.

With the potential for betting being so important to a sport’s success, other sports and games hoping to make the leap into the mainstream can take a strong and valuable lesson away from watching the rise of others.

If a sport such as surfing or mountain-biking wants to break away from their respective niche markets, regardless of how strong the niche is, and into the mainstream, the money has to be right. Not only will more fans and more sponsors need to put more money into the coffers of owners and event organizers, but the culture has to be promoted from the outside in by a wave of willing sports-betters showing that there’s a broad market with profit potential for everyone.

Exactly how other sports can get this done is up for debate. But much like horseracing or football, it wouldn’t hurt a niche sport to offer odds like spreads and over-under numbers at the gate. Making it lucrative instead of solely entertaining is the real ticket that sells in all of sport.

*This post contains 100% sponsored content

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