Using search to discover America’s favourite sport

Last May, sports gambling was legalised in the US and has since been made legal in 8 states – with 15 more states considering the ruling.

Our recent US Sportsbook leaderboard not only revealed some interesting insights into how sports gambling is settling in in the US, but also the popularity of different American sports.

Knowing the nation’s favourite sport will help inform bookmakers strategies….

Playing a down

America’s favourite sport has long been football, with an average NFL sunday night audience of 20.3m.

Based on a new poll from Gallup, 37% of US adults said football was their favourite sport, down from 43% in 2008. This decline could be due to a number of reasons surrounding the sport, such as high injury stats, political controversy and accusations of domestic violence of players.

Whatever the reason for this, we can see this decline in search. Below shows search volume for ‘American football’ gambling terms:

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It’s clear that these terms have been falling in search since 2016, 17% from September 2016 to September 2018.

Sportsbook US | Leaderboard

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Fly ball to ground ball

Baseball, the original American sport of the 1920s and 30s, hasn’t been the main focus for sports fans for a number of decades. Ousted by football, it’s declining still; whilst 53% said they were fans of baseball in 2012, by 2017 this number had fallen by 2% to 51%.

Much like football, we can see this decline happening in search data too.

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‘Baseball’ gambling terms have decreased by 9% since October 2016 to October 2018 in search volume.


A future slam dunk?

Basketball, although still nowhere near the popularity of football, is on the rise; 37% of Americans said they were fans of basketball in 2012, which increased by 3% by 2017, to 40%.

According to ESPN, it’s particularly popular with younger generations. The youth are favouring a non-contact game, built on intense teamwork, with a much faster pace than football or baseball.

Again this trend can be seen growing in search data:

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‘Basketball’ gambling terms have been increasing in search volume since 2016, with a 9% increase from May 2016 to May 2018.

Indicative data

Having an understanding of which sports are growing in popularity and which are declining is essential for those gambling sites wanting to understand and capitalise on new sports gambling legislation.

As we’ve seen, search data is completely indicative of a sport’s popularity.

Sportsbook US | Leaderboard

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