CC#24: Sports betting startup launches show with David Levy as its first guest

Simplebet co-founders Joey Levy & Chris Bevilacqua launched the show approximately 2 months after closing a highly publicized $15m Series B extension

Simplebet, a startup making every moment in sporting events a betting opportunity (aka micro-betting), made a big splash on clubhouse last week with a new show that will feature some of the biggest names in sports technology. This comes just 2 months after they blew up the internet after closing a $15m series b extension.

The first episode debuted last Wednesday, April 7th, on the 3 year anniversary of Simplebet being founded. It featured David Levy, the former President of Turner Sports, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia responsible for sports broadcasts on channels such as TBS, TNT, TruTV, and for operating the digital media outlets NCAA.com, NBA.com, PGATour.com and PGA.com.

Joey Levy, a co-founder of Simplebet, asked the first question: “What are the key trends you’re most excited about in sports technology and how do you see micro-betting fitting into this?”

David Levy replied “The most important thing: engagement, engagement, engagement. If you bet on a game, you’re 98% more likely to watch a game and spend more time watching it then if you didn’t bet. If more people watch a game and viewers spend more time watching the game, even if just for a minute longer than usual, that means ratings are going to go up. If ratings go up, ad dollars go up. If ad dollars go up, media rights go up. If media rights go up, franchise values go up. This is an entire ecosystem based around the consumer having more engagement with the product.”

”What’s so exciting about micro-betting is that you can take a sporting event that had 15-20 bets you could possibly do, and now you can do 2000 bets for that same sporting event. You can literally bet on every single play throughout the game. Some people are not going to like that, and that’s ok. Ultimately, there will be a screen that will allow viewers to easily make these bets on the spot while watching the game, and a different interface that will look like regular sporting events look today for people who are not interested in this.”

David also commented on COVID-19’s impacts on sports: “The pandemic did one thing: it sped up the approval of gambling on a state by state basis because of budgetary reasons. That’s why I think we’re seeing gambling stocks grow as quickly as they are.”

Chris Bevilacqua, also a co-founder of Simplebet, asked the next question: “The question we get a lot is about latency. When we talk about micro-betting and the user experience of micro-betting in a “less-than-low-latency world”, how do you see that evolving?”

David: “The majority of people watching sporting events experience a 45-second delay from the actual event. Zero latency is a must in the micro-betting world. Another company I’m advising called Phenix has solved zero latency. On some recent games, if you watched the Verizon screen, there was zero latency. You can’t have a 45-second delay and bet on balls and strikes.”

Chris: “How do you see the media companies and betting companies working together in the future?”

David: “I think it’s all converging as we speak. Media companies are converging with sports betting companies. I also believe the DraftKings and FanDuels of the world, are going to be portals. Just as you can watch a Travis Scott concert on FortNite now, the same is going to happen through these betting portals. I wouldn’t be surprised if a media company would allow a sport book to show a stream as long as they get credit. A recent deal we just closed with Genius for the NFL is going to bring new innovation that will help make this possible.”

Chris: “How much will sports drive targeted advertising opportunities?”

David: “Quite a bit—Amazon will be the first. If a person bought a Pittsburg Steelers jersey last year, now Amazon can send them a targeted ad about tickets to an upcoming game. Genius has a whole division on live ads to help sports books find consumers who they may want to send an ad to. That’s already here. We log in, we buy a jersey and suddenly, 3 weeks later we get a fanatics ad targeted. The question becomes: who owns the consumer, the media companies or the cable networks?”

Chris: “How will these more targeted approaches affect the CPM?”

David: “The CPM would be double. Rather than say CPM, I’d now be saying TCPM, or a targeted CPM. If I want to target shirts, and I can guarantee this person is interested in shirts, that’s far more valuable. People say “I know advertising works, but I don’t know which 50% works.” It’s all about eliminating waste, but it’s probably gonna cost you double.”

Joey: “What are the highest priorities for you and Genius as you guys are gearing up to become a public company?”

David: “The fan experience is everything. If you don’t win over the fans, you have nothing. Some companies work backwards, they think “How can we sell the fans something?” rather than trying to create the best fan experience. That typically doesn’t work well. I’m looking forward to working with Genius to grow and figure out how to start using that data. And of course, I’m looking forward to growing Genius here in the states.”

Chris and Joey closed the interview by stating they will be having these sessions regularly. To learn more about Simplebet, visit simplebet.io - If you have suggestions for future guests that the duo can interview on clubhouse, email joey@simplebet.io and type Clubhouse Chronicles in the subject line.