Fans Are ‘Eager For The Return’ Of Live Sports, Says DraftKings Survey

Written By Ian St. Clair on 07/29/2020 - Last Updated on January 16, 2021

The last four months have given us more questions than answers.

Ever since COVID-19 shut down the US in mid-March, the one certainty has been uncertainty.

From the world of sports to casinos, one question prevails over the others: When will we return to normal?

We are starting to get a sense of what the wide world of sports will look like, however. DraftKings recently conducted a national survey on American sports fans and the new normal of sports.

The return of the Colorado Rockies and MLB is our first taste at what that “new normal” is during the coronavirus era. Sports betting has no doubt been an adventure for the last four months. That’s especially true for the two-month-old Colorado sports betting market.

Talk about a wild time to launch.

Despite the lack of major US sports and only six Colorado sports betting apps live for the majority of those first two months, the state’s sports betting market continues to show great potential. The $25.6 million handle for May, and the just released $38.1 million handle for June, show the needle pointing up.

The return of sports and more sportsbooks launching apps and opening retail outlets adds to the excitement.

DraftKings survey on sports

As for the survey, DraftKings examined the perspectives and adaptations of modern fandom as a direct result of the novel coronavirus. It was a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 self-identified American sports fans.

Here are some of the snapshots of the findings, as provided by DraftKings:

  • 78% are willing to sacrifice traditional aspects of sports if it means a return to play for major leagues.
  • NBA stands as what live sports fans are most looking forward to (that was followed by the MLB opening day).
  • 56% reported taking developments around COVID-19 more seriously following league cancellations.
  • One in every four fans began following a new sport as a result of league cancellations, with esports as the most popular newly followed sport.
  • One in every five fans does not plan to be in-stadium again until a cure for the virus is identified.

Matt Kalish, the co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, said in the release for the survey:

“With over half of respondents having reported missing sports during the resultant hiatus, fans across the country are inarguably eager for the return of their favorite leagues and teams, albeit with largely adjusted expectations as exemplified by our latest findings. By deepening our understanding of the American fan through data and leveraging the technology of our platform, we are better able to adjust and serve the new experience of sports fans throughout the US.”

Sports fans excited for NBA return

The Denver Nuggets will begin seeding play on Saturday versus the Miami Heat, marking the first chance for fans to bet on the local NBA franchise.

That will serve as a potential boon for the CO sports betting market. Before the NBA shut down play in March, there was excitement over the Nuggets. That’s certain to reignite.

The DraftKings survey shows that 64% of American fans say the NBA is their most highly anticipated sport to watch again. It’s safe to assume the Nuggets would get similar or even higher results if Colorado sports fans were surveyed.

As for the return of sports, the DraftKings survey shows approximately 66% of fans feel it important for live sports to return before September, while 39% believe the return to play is occurring too soon.

How will fans watch sports?

The other fascinating finding of the DraftKings survey is how fans intend to watch and engage with their favorite teams.

According to the survey, over half do not anticipate a change in how they will watch live sports. Only 35% are in favor of home viewership as opposed to attending live events while wearing masks and social distancing.

The survey adds that 60% plan to continue consumption through traditional cable TV, while 40% will access live feeds by way of in-app streaming services.

The fact that Colorado allows bettors to sign up for an online sportsbook app from their couch ties into all this.

It’s another factor giving the market advantage over a Las Vegas-style approach that doesn’t allow remote sign-ups. That remote capability is one major reason so many sportsbooks want a piece of the Colorado sports betting pie.

To the surprise of no one, the NFL is king for sports fans.

When asked which sports they would likely to watch live post-pandemic, respondents said the NFL despite an adjusted schedule format.

There are still way more questions than answers. We still don’t know when we will return to normal and what that normal will look like.

Thankfully, sports are back to serve as a needed distraction.

Ian St. Clair Avatar
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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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