So, you’re sitting there watching a UFC bout when suddenly the underdog scores a key advantage that could potentially change the outcome of the match. If only there were a way for gamblers to be able to place in-game wagers and fatten their wallets. The UFC has heard the call and is ready to answer appropriately. Coming soon to a mobile phone or tablet near you is the UFC Event Centre app, a live, in-match gambling solution.
According to Bloomberg, UFC is now testing the new product in collaboration with IMG Arena. Both the UFC and IMG Arena belong to Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. and the gambling solution uses “official data from UFC, plus logos, photos and fighter bios” to “create a full suite of gambling options for betting operators to incorporate into their apps and sportsbooks.”
Over 50 different betting options will reportedly be available through the app for each match, including 20 wager types that will be updated in real-time. The latter is a novel concept in the UFC, since creating statistics (which means odds) during a bout is more difficult. The UFC’s chief operating officer, Lawrence Epstein, explains, “In-game betting is the fastest-growing part of the sports-gaming industry. Some of the stuff we’re doing is stuff that hasn’t been done with respect to UFC in the past.”
To put this into perspective, tennis sees around 70% of the wagers made during the match. The UFC, on the other hand, only has around 7% in live betting. Launching the new app is going to completely re-balance gambling on UFC matches and will include things such as wagers on knockdowns, total strikes, how much time a fighter could be on the mat and how many take-down attempts are made.
Endeavor purchased the UFC for $4 billion in 2016 and immediately set out to make the sport more thrilling for fans. It has done a good job so far, and the new Event Centre app will certainly take fan engagement to a whole new level. Epstein adds, “It’s fun to go to a Vegas sportsbook at 11 o’clock at night and watch everybody go crazy over the University of Hawaii game, which no one would care about but for the fact that it’s the only college-football game left. We’re for anything that increases fan engagement.”
The UFC is willing to license the platform to sportsbooks who want to use it for a fee and a piece of the operation’s gross gaming yield. However, those fees and percentages have apparently not yet been established.