If you look at other brands out there today, you see them front-loaded among the younger demographics. Very seldom do you get these kinds of age groups.When the UK’s 888 Holdings was searching for a joint venture partner to launch an online sportsbook, poker and casino games, they were drawn to Sports Illustrated in part because of its popularity with female and older consumers.
That’s according to 888’s Senior Vice President and Head of US Yaniv Sherman, who sat down for an exclusive interview with Poker Industry PRO, published earlier this week.
Sherman discussed a wide range of topics with Poker Industry PRO as the gaming giant prepares to help WSOP.com launch in Pennsylvania and Michigan. He indicated that West Virginia and Connecticut could be among the next states the company targets for its expansion in the US.
SI’s Appeal with Older Consumers …
Last month, 888 formed a partnership with the Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the parent company of SI, to offer SI-branded sports betting and iGaming products in the US.
“Personally, SI strikes the right chord for me, as someone in their 40s who either was or still is an avid SI reader and consumer,” Sherman said. He added that in days past, SI “was as good as any of the other top brands in the market in terms of awareness. The trick today is to turn awareness into intent and actual conversion.”
Sherman pointed to user demographic data presented in June when the SI-888 partnership was announced. According to a slide, the highest percentage of users between June 2020 and June 2021, 23.2% in total, were between the ages of 25 and 34.
The trick today is to turn awareness into intent and actual conversion.But while the percentage of users declines with age, Sherman said 888 was surprised by how resilient the older demographics were. Data show 20.2% of users in the same time frame were aged 35-44, while 18.2% of users were 45-54. Another 15.9% of users were 55-64 and 11.1% were over the age of 65.
“This [spread] is very unusual,” Sherman said. “If you look at other brands out there today, you see them front-loaded among the younger demographics. Very seldom do you get these kinds of age groups.”
Sherman added that SI aligns more with 888’s plans to establish a recreational destination that offers online sportsbook and casino games. “We looked at Barstool and FoxBet as benchmarks,” he said. “We were somewhere in the middle, maybe a bit more toward FoxBet than Barstool—less rough and rowdy. We were going for the sentimental nostalgia [angle] to begin with.”
… and with Female Consumers
Sherman added that 888 was intrigued by the percentage of female SI consumers. According to user demographic data presented at the time the SI-888 partnership was announced, 23.2% of users between June 2020 and June 2021 identified as female.
“SI is more popular [than expected] with women for various reasons, but it’s been out there for so long,” Sherman said. “Twenty-three percent may seem a bit low, but sports betting in general, in terms of consumer and sport content, is typically male. Usually it’s around 85% to 90%, so these SI numbers are actually pretty good. It shows that there’s great potential in that segment.”
“People are basically ignoring half the market [by not catering to female consumers]. Times have changed. That’s a long-winded way of saying there’s a lot more data here now.”
PRO’s full interview with Sherman was published exclusively for subscribers earlier this week.