Novice sports fans cannot engage with sports events because they are concerned with the potential monetary loss of betting.
It can be easy to be lured into the sports betting world with the promise of making money and celebrities consistently advertising various sites while you watch your favourite team play. However, what is not as commonly known is that 95-97% of bettors lose money long-term1. For novice sports bettors (individuals who watch sports semi-regularly but rarely bet), it will be nearly impossible to make money long-term, as the 3-5% of long term winners spend hours researching bets in order to profit.
Despite this, the sports betting world is a growing space2, as people will continuously pour more and more money into their betting accounts. While conducting our own user research, 89% of individuals (generally young adults who watch sports) said they would rather have a competitive social component than wager real money.
The issue is there is no real alternative that is free and allows them to compete with their friends, so they will often turn to betting as an entertaining way to watch sports.
User Pain Points
Using Google Forms, there were 9 responses as well as 1 user interview. The initial target audience was novice sports bettors (individuals who watch sports on a somewhat regular basis but rarely have bet in the past). 4 of the 9 respondents fit the description, and the goal was to figure out why they had not signed up for sports betting before. It was discovered that not only for novice bettors, but for the majority of users in general, that they would prefer to bet socially rather than involve money.
88.9% of responses said they would rather have a competitive social component than wager real money. Everyone who has not bet before sited the “risk of financial loss” as a primary reason for not getting involved, with 75% of these responses indicating they would be encouraged to join if money was not involved.
60% of users who had bet before acknowledged that they have lost money long-term (although online research indicated this number is really between 95-97%), with 20% suggesting that they lost more money than they were comfortable losing. Only 40% started betting as an opportunity to make money, they were looking to test their sports knowledge (80%) or bet with friends (100%).
This feedback suggested that there was in fact interest in a betting application that didn’t require money, and not only with our target audience of novice sports bettors. If there was a platform where users could compete with friends and didn’t put individuals at risk of losing money, there would be interest.
Landing on the Solution
Based on the users’ pain points, we knew we wanted to have a website that allowed individuals to place real bets, but use in-game currency instead of real money. This could act similar to Investopedia (a mock stock trading website for users who wanted to try trading stocks without risking real money). The goal of this would be so users could have a more entertaining viewing experience, cheering on the players they bet on. Based on the user feedback, a social yet competitive component would be key to keeping users engaged with the website. One idea would be to have a standings set up so users can see how they are doing relative to their friends. Since the primary target audience are novice sports bettors, everything should be easy to understand without previous betting experience, as any betting jargon should be explained and easy to follow. By tracking the users’ success, it can also let them see how they would do if they wanted to bet real money.
Since this is at early stages, future steps would include building out a MVP, conducting user feedback and iterating to make the website as useful as possible.
Product Manager Learnings:
Co.Lab was a very interesting experience for me as I had some Product Manager experience before through co-ops, but it was great to hone in on the fundamentals and to get the experience of working on a product you are passionate about. I really enjoyed the user research portion and turning that into a spec.