Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, has signed a ‘global innovation alliance’ with Verizon Media which will deliver new virtual reality (VR) experiences for live sports viewing.
The gambling operator will work alongside Verizon Media to ‘combine live sports viewing with interactive layers of sports data and gaming’, allowing bettors to ‘participate in sports events, check data, socialise with friends, and place bets on Entain platforms’.
“To win in the future we need to understand where consumers will be in five, ten years’ time and work with other global businesses also investing in that,” said Shay Segev, CEO of Entain.
“We envisage consumers meeting at a game with friends, who could in fact be elsewhere, using virtual reality headsets to watch, interact and share the experience together and, potentially, compete between themselves at half time or feel like they’re on the pitch with the players.”
Additionally, the duo will integrate emerging technologies such as 5G, VR and augmented reality (AR) to enhance the sports betting experience.
“This new alliance takes the collaboration between our two companies to a new level and will allow us both to maximize new opportunities across sports-betting, content and entertainment,” added Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media.
“Together, we are building the next-generation of content experiences for sports and gaming fans. Our world-first 5G-enabled production studios in LA and London, creative technology teams and Verizon Media’s Immersive platform, that enables extended reality (XR) content to be created and distributed across digital channels at scale, allow partners like Entain to bring next-level immersive and interactive experiences to their customers.”
The new alliance coincides with initial findings from research commissioned by YouGov, which revealed that the use of technology is increasingly shaping consumer behaviours in gaming and entertainment around the world, notably in the United States and Australia.
Research found that two-thirds of consumers are combining their gaming experiences with social media to increase their enjoyment.
YouGov found that across all markets, men aged 25 to 39 were the target audience for esports and gaming, with more than half of esports players falling into this category. According to the data, most respondents are sharing their experiences on social media, and more than half have bet.
When it comes to traditional sports, interaction was also identified as an increasingly important factor for this audience, with 31% of 25 to 39-year-old and 34% of over 55’s also engaging digitally to increase their enjoyment of watching sport.