This year stands to be one of the biggest for the sports betting industry, with nineteen states voting whether to legalize sports betting, either through voter referendum or state legislature statute. But with imminent growth comes new challenges—not only must new customers be introduced and educated, but the betting experience itself must also evolve to better serve a more discerning post-pandemic audience. Rising to meet this challenge is NY-based experiential agency Soho Experiential, with the launch of Betting University (BetU): a series of on-site activations and offerings designed to allow any sportsbooks to create and run their own sports betting experiences.

BetU is a premium promotional strategy designed to be adopted by sportsbooks and powered by Soho Experiential – experts in creating marketing for highly regulated industries. Offering marketing assets, training, talent and more, it’s structured to be a zero barrier-to-entry affiliate opportunity, leveraging the agency’s market experience and national presence to bring new customers in the world of sports betting at a time of increased opportunity. 

The past year of COVID lockdowns has been tough on the events, bar and restaurant industry. With BetU, Soho is providing both a new attraction to draw out reticent audiences and a chance for hospitality workers to apply their skills towards a complimentary industry. Soho hopes that their efforts will help break down barriers and generate excitement and loyalty for these vital businesses.

“The idea came about squarely from our work dealing with categories that have high barriers to entry and big education gaps: like the cannabis, beer and spirits spaces,” says Soho Managing Director Jeff Boedges. “The fact is, beyond a handshake bet or a Super Bowl box pool, the average person is not an educated sports gambler, so our solution was to develop a method for people to get educated in a fun, but relatively risk-free manner. Since college sports comprise a significant percentage of sportsbook wagers, the brand BetU was born.”

For the public, participating in BetU is simple: when visiting a BetU pop-up at a favorite bar, lounge or other location, guests can engage with brand ambassadors and be introduced to various sportsbooks apps. The face-to-face engagement encourages fans to learn more by setting up an app account and making an initial deposit.

Already off to a great start, BetU has partnered with FanDuel and BetRivers for affiliate marketing, conducting test runs in Colorado and Illinois.  Soho has chosen these battleground markets with the plan of extending nationally as legalization spreads.

“Similar to how virtual events have opened up the reach of live events to a wider range of consumers, mobile and web-based sports betting has opened up the industry to a new demographic of sports fans,” continues Boedges. “Dealing with the related regulatory and compliance issues is second nature to us. Plus we already possess countless relationships with on-premise accounts, where the programming will take place. Add in our robust training program and ability to scale to any state in the nation with ease and you can see why we feel strongly that we can deliver great, consistently executed programs throughout the country.”

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