The rapid growth of virtual sports and the rise of it from being under the shadow of traditional sports betting are largely due to pandemic.
Let us go all the way back to March 2020, the month that started the series of lockdowns all around the globe – when all activities are affected and forcibly stopped, it includes basketball leagues. The National Basketball Association found ways to jump start the activities and to make their earnings back to normal within that timeframe and they decided to have an NBA Bubble that was held in Disney at Orlando, Florida.
The NBA Bubble lasted for 107 days and the television viewership tremendously went down not only in the United States but across the globe, despite featuring a lot of unpredictable games, exciting playoffs series, and NBA finals that featured LeBron James and the Lakers against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.
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The NBA brought back the normal calendar in the 2021-2022 regular season and according to the data from The Athletics saw its viewership rise to 19 percent across television networks in comparison to the prior season (2020-2021). Coming into the next season (2022-2023) the NBA made a significant move to allow virtual sports to use their teams and players. Virtual sports industry will bring huge changes to the NBA landscape and will possibly provide the league’s income, popularity, and fans engagement.
How virtual sports will make significant changes in the current NBA landscape
It is without a doubt that football is still the number one sport in all aspects may it be betting, viewership, and fans engagement. Virtual betting made a huge contribution into a continuing growth of football, specifically in sports betting. This move by the NBA will possibly make a big positive impact to compete with football in the dome of popularity. The said sport industry have much shorter duration than the actual basketball with the match within just minutes or so and could run for 24 hours, 7 days a week, more betting opportunities will come for virtual bettors. This format will benefit the NBA in terms of introducing their clubs or teams, players, and the atmosphere in general.
In virtual sports, the only problem that most bettors encounter are the lack of virtual realism as this is hamper by licensing issues making the football teams in virtual sports change their names to avoid copyright or license issues. The players would have no choice but to bet on teams with names like West London rather than Chelsea or Fulham. But there are significant changes happen as various sports organizations are lending their actual team names and players to be use for virtual sports.
NBA Notable move to boost fans engagements
The NBA made a deal last August with a gaming studio to build a virtual sports powered by the real-life data from the organization. According to a news outlet, the NBA-Virtual basketball engagement will create 3000 betting opportunities each day, contributing to the growth of virtual sports and virtual betting.
Since basketball is a sport engage on numbers and statistics, the complexity of betting will rely on bettors familiarity on the real actual players or teams featured in a virtual game. With that, the wall between virtual sports and tradition/actual sports can be break by technology, making two activities engaged to each other.
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