Late in 2019, Yahoo Sports became a strategic affiliate partner driving qualified bettors to bet on the BetMGM mobile online sports wagering platforms through a partnership with BetMGM and Yahoo Sportsbook. Joanna Lambert, President & GM, Consumer Yahoo, tells Yogonet in an exclusive interview that more than 80% of total Yahoo Sportsbook users registered with BetMGM are also active in the Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Fantasy Sports apps. The week ahead of NFL Kickoff, Yahoo Sports drove a 444% increase in referrals to BetMGM year-over-year and its largest-ever single day of betting registrations, she notes.
BetMGM’s CEO said New York marked the most successful launch for the brand so far, with the highest registration to deposit conversion percentage for all its state launches, and the highest new player deposit success rate for any state launch. How would you assess Yahoo Sportsbook's initial performance and feedback, and what have you learned from this market so far? Have you seen any impact from the fact that BetMGM’s debut came almost 10 days after the other four major operators?
Yahoo Sportsbook’s initial performance has been strong and we’ve been able to tap into the pent-up demand and passion of New York fans to help drive referrals and conversions to BetMGM. Overall, we’ve seen great momentum alongside BetMGM since launch and are encouraged by the ongoing enthusiasm in this important market.
What has Yahoo Sportsbook’s strategy been in terms of initial investment and customer acquisition to secure a competitive debut, leveraging the BetMGM brand and assets? How would you describe your approach in the short-mid term to capitalize on such a large market, and which specific/tailored features and developments are set to become differential factors in your platform?
Yahoo Sports continues to serve as a true go-to destination for fans, by enabling a seamless betting experience via our partnership with BetMGM, offering robust free and paid Daily Fantasy Sports contests and providing fans with insightful news and analysis from our strong roster of experts. In terms of customer acquisition, we successfully supported BetMGM’s pre-registration bonus in New York (up to $1,000 in free bets upon registration to users of legal age). Additionally, we’ve been able to leverage Yahoo’s overall ecosystem to help amplify promotional messaging across all Yahoo platforms and its 900 million user audience.
How will you drive synergies with BetMGM’s partnerships in the state like MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment? Which effects could have MGM’s recent decision to integrate its revamped loyalty program into all aspects of BetMGM’s offering?
We are planning to maximize engagement opportunities via BetMGM’s partnerships in New York, including VIP experiences for fans and consumers. This has already proven successful based on our activation with BetMGM in December. We hosted the first-ever Yahoo Fantasy Football Championship at the MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino in Maryland. The event combined the digital and physical experience, bringing together the 60 top players from around the country for an exclusive weekend. Fantasy players had multiple opportunities to qualify for the championship through both free and paid contests throughout the first 10 weeks of the season. At the event, Yahoo Fantasy players had an opportunity to face off in person as part of an exclusive free Daily Fantasy contest with $200,000 in cash prizes and the title of the Best Yahoo Fantasy Football Player on the line. The event featured VIP appearances by former Washington Commanders tight end Vernon Davis and former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, accommodations at MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino and more.
In terms of MGM’s reimagined loyalty program, we’re excited about the potential to further engage our audience and showcase exciting new benefits.
What are your strategies to leverage Sunday's Super Bowl?
We’re capitalizing on a multi-pronged strategy, bringing fans closer to the Big Game and making it easy for everyone to have fun with so many different ways to play this Sunday. This includes a recently launched free Fantasy Slate about fun parts of the game for a chance to win up to $10,000, Yahoo Sports’ $1 million Daily Fantasy contest and for those looking to up the ante, and fans in eligible states can conveniently place bets right from the platform through Yahoo Sports’ partnership with BetMGM.
Which kind of data and KPIs do you work with in terms of consumer behavior on both Yahoo Sportsbook and Yahoo Fantasy? How do you use it to drive decisions and enhance the consumer experience, for instance, regarding premium subscriptions, personalization and omnichannel strategies?
We’re adopting a 360 approach to engage with fans throughout their journey, connecting them with key touchpoints along the way including content, fantasy and betting. Our success is validated by the fact that 80+ percent of total Yahoo Sportsbook users registered with BetMGM are also active in the Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Fantasy Sports apps. From 9/6/21 - 9/12/21 (NFL Kickoff), Yahoo Sports drove a 444 percent increase in referrals to BetMGM year-over-year and its largest-ever single day of betting registrations. Additionally, throughout 2021, the ratio of daily active users to monthly active users increased by more than 14 percent for sports betting-related content. We’re constantly looking at this data to continue ensuring we’re “speaking” to consumers based on their needs, interests and passion points.
BetMGM also recently kicked off its mobile launch in Louisiana. What do you know so far about the player’s profile and demands there? Are you adopting different initial strategies for this market? What are your goals and expectations?
The southern part of the country has a true passion for sports, both on the college and professional level so we’re excited about the opportunity to tap into that as part of the recent launch. Our strategy will reinforce Yahoo Sports as a go-to destination for fans and robust experiences available via our partnership with BetMGM, free and paid Daily Fantasy Sports contests and leading content about their favorite teams and sports.
BetMGM recently said it is the number 2 operator for sports betting and iGaming across the markets in which it operates, and it is achieving market share in line with its long-term target of 20%-25% in both verticals. BetMGM expects to reach approximately 40% of the US adult population, with further jurisdiction launches this year, plus launches in Canada and Puerto Rico. What do you take from these current numbers and projections? Is this in line with Yahoo Sportsbook’s growth, plans and strategies for 2022? Which will be the key challenges this year both for the company and the North American online sports betting industry in general?
Seeing this growth unfold has been fantastic. Our focus remains on continuing to support and amplify BetMGM via the Yahoo Sports value proposition. As the market for betting continues to grow, so does the competition. While there is increased “noise” in the marketplace, we believe that Yahoo Sports and our partnership with BetMGM is well-positioned and are committed to delivering authentic, engaging and relevant experiences.