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Inside Track

A Safe Wager: Sports Betting to Explode in 2021

You don’t have to look far to see just how much the conversation about sports betting has changed. 

It’s everywhere. 

🚗 Billboards on the side of the road announce daily fantasy apps and mobile betting sportsbooks. 

📡 Satellite radio sponsorships are continuously giving new subscribers promo codes to download apps and create accounts. 

📺 💻 🔊 And: Content, content, content. 

Teams are increasingly promoting partnerships and advertising for emerging sportsbook players. Sports broadcasters are infusing dialogue into their programming that discusses sports wagering and betting in ways we could have never imagined five years ago. 

Landmark Legislation 

Today, 18 states and the District of Columbia now formally allow legalized sports wagering thanks to the 2018 landmark Supreme Court ruling Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, where the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated the 10th Amendment. Until this legislation, only the state of Nevada allowed legalized sports gambling. With the Supreme Court ruling, states were able to make sports wagering legal.   

At the moment, four states have passed bills paving the way for legalized sports betting, and another nine states have active bills on the docket. 

Without a doubt, there are several implications that are fueling the rise, dominance, and increasing importance of the sports betting landscape. As legalized wagering has shifted many consumers from illegal local bookies and offshore sportsbook websites to trustworthy books based in their home state, they embrace the products in new ways. Fantasy sports and daily fantasy were table stakes, but now there is an entirely new industry powered by technology, media and broadcasting, data accessibility, advanced stats and metrics, and content. Many teams are involved here, from developers ensuring bets can be made to content teams creating and publishing stories that augment wagering. Opportunities are everywhere in this new ecosystem. 

Here are a few key areas we’ll be monitoring here at Sports Tech in the coming year: 

Screens Fuel Betting & Content Opportunities 

Your next bet is in your pocket. Our mobile devices are powerful, robust machines delivering content and accessibility to our fingertips. They’ve also become intermediary screens that connect the large screen on our wall, computers in our offices, and the tablets and other devices in our homes. 

When we watch live sports, secondary devices like mobile phones become places that augment the live sports action. For betting, that means placing a live bet during a commercial break, scrolling through Twitter to see what pundits are saying about a player or team, updating fantasy sports scores, and checking in with family and friends who are cheering on during the same game. 

Advertisers and media companies are not just taking notice; they’re full-on developing content non-stop to address this new and emerging market.

This is the studio’s view looking out onto Las Vegas Blvd. and the Caesars Casino complex. The studio hosts a new ESPN show, The Daily Wager, which discusses all the major line movements and betting news shaping that day’s most important games. 

Strong media entities that have delivered sporting news for decades are now making the transition into sports betting news and finding no shortage of ways to get that content into your stream. Darren Rovell used to write about the business of sports for ESPN, but when sports wagering became hot, he took a job at Action Network, an emerging sports media company focused on analysis and news purely around sports betting in America.  

Gameday Experience 

In the absence of live games, the multi-screen experience and digital optimizations on mobile devices have stepped up big-time. Imagine what’s in store when live gameday sporting experiences return. We’re calling epic new tech that’s powered by sportstech innovators. 

When live sports returns full-speed to stadiums new digital experiences will be there to engage fans on new levels. Stadiums are vital real estate assets that are being designed and constructed for more than just the games themselves. Now, teams are thinking about all the digital bells and whistles that can help keep people interested and build affinity for the team they love.

Already in the last year, the Chicago Cubs and Las Vegas Raiders have signed deals for partnerships between sports betting entities. Right now, the lines of where you can actually place bets in person are a bit blurry but there are stadiums that are thinking about specific areas where ticketed fans can go into to place wagers before, during, and after the game. 


What happens when the sports biggest stars begin signing deals to represent the sports wagering companies? 

We already see that happen in golf. 

This past year, one of the PGA’s emerging stars, Bryson DeChambeau signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Draftkings. In the deal,  he’ll wear their logo on his signature golf cap as well as become a conduit to fans with in-person interactive events like lessons or playing a round of golf with him. 

“It’s pretty cool,” DeChambeau told Golfweek. “They are a company that is pretty young and thriving and for me, personally, the whole fantasy golf space, the whole betting world, is getting bigger and bigger and I want to be associated with a brand that is growing the game and exposing the game in different areas. “This is the future. And I want to be a part of that.”

In the future, look to see bigger stars sign interesting deals that not only tie the daily fantasy or betting component of these brands to their respective sports but also increase the fan and player engagement opportunities, too. 

For retail and restaurants, the possibilities of integrating experiences around betting are absolutely massive. For a chain like Buffalo Wild Wings, the gameday experience is integral to their brand. Live sports have become synonymous with wings and beer and gathering with fans. Soon, they’ll be partnering with MGM to rollout wagering apps that can be used in their physical restaurant locations becoming an engaging and immersive product that complements the in-store experience. 

Reshaping the Sports Experience for Years Ahead

Just as with sports itself, the experience factor will impact sports betting significantly. Fantasy sports has brought fans closer to live games over the last two decades, and wagering has the opportunity to bring an entirely new and immersive experience to the live gameday action. 

Where are you placing your bets on the future of sports wagering? Let us know what your thoughts on the matter on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.


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