• The Sports Decisions Makers Summit was held on May 6 and 7 in Miami.
  • Leaders from around sports industries came together to discuss increasing fan engagement.
  • William Hill is looking to expand with Harris Blitzer when more states approve sports betting.

MIAMI – Expanding sports betting across the country “will be an educational process” according to the Digital President at William Hill US, Kenneth Fuchs.

Fuchs and Adam Davis, the Chief Revenue Officer for Harris Blitzer Sports Enterprises, discussed fans’ attitudes towards sports betting and the overall financial and cultural impact of legal sports betting at the Sports Decision Makers Summit in Miami on Monday.

Their goal was to get to the bottom of how to improve fan experience and engagement at the variety of sports venues that are located in states with approved sports betting laws. William Hill and Harris Blitzer are partnered together with agreements for both the New Jersey Devils and their arena, the Prudential Center.

Fuchs related the current sports betting market to that of fantasy sports in the late 1990s. Fans were not aware of all of their options and weren’t even sure what they were doing to begin with. He continued to point out that though they may have participated in the industry prior, they haven’t experienced what a major market looks like, especially compared to the U.K.

In contrasting styles, Europeans tend to participate in live, in-play betting (upwards of 70% of the time) whereas Americans only attempt this style roughly 15% of the time in New Jersey. Simply put, the infrastructure and legal mobile betting options are much more prevalent in the U.K. than that of the US.

One option to combat this was focused on transforming the sports arenas for the professional teams into full-service sportsbooks. Washington DC approved a measure that will allow the sports venues in the District to offer sports betting options and some of the other states around the country have at least opened up the discussion to as well.

“How do you turn a 20,000-person venue into a sports book? It will be interesting to see if it manifests that way,” said Fuchs.

For Adam Davis, his oversight, to say the least, includes the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils (teams owned by Harris Blitzer). Both of these teams are located in states with legal sports betting and since New Jersey’s mobile betting industry has taken off, it could still see an increase through fan engagement.

Signs are posted all throughout the Prudential Center to help spectators of the event sign up for mobile betting in the arena. This connection only helps both parties, who won’t be able to have a sportsbook in the arena until state laws are passed in approval.

“We have experience as operators, so now we want to build products that are attuned to the user and make the customer journey as frictionless as possible,” said Fuchs.

The Summit was an invitation-only event designed to make improvements across a wide range of topics involving sports. Some of the ideas discussed in the conference included the various impacts of the major league rights deals, how to deepen fan engagement at stadiums, and even how to adjust from the balance of marketing power shifting towards the athletes.

Popular keynote speakers included President of AS Roma, James Pallotta, and Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott. The next summit will take place in London on July 9 and 10.

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