With Basketball being inactive, what have fans been betting on?
After being suspended on 11 March due to coronavirus, the 2019/2020 NBA season finally got back underway at the end of July - albeit in strange circumstances. With the threat of COVID-19 still looming, 22 of the 30 teams in the league jetted off to a virus-secure bubble in Florida to compete in a series of seeding games, followed by a shortened playoffs.
While the lack of fans cheering on their favourite players may be unconventional, almost everyone has welcomed the NBA coming back. The return of the league also means that the NBA is back on the Philippines sports betting market. However, before basketball came back what exactly were sports fans betting on in order to get their fix?
Sports betting habits have been constantly evolving throughout the COVID-19 crisis. All the way back in March and April when the pandemic first began to sweep its way across the globe, hardly any major sports markets survived the resultant shutdown. Every prominent soccer league, the NFL and NHL are just some of the major markets that were lost. In the midst of these problems new sports thrived.
One of the breakout stars was ping pong - as William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN back in April.
"Pingpong is the star of the show," Bogdanovich said.
“The games are one on top of one another. Guys are playing three or four times a day. Everyone is probably betting the same guy or against him all day. People are betting five-, six- and seven-teamers."
eSports was another breakout market as many bookmakers carried odds on the global phenomenon for the first time ever. This was in part encouraged by actual sports. For example, upon the announcement that NASCAR would be cancelled because of the virus, the gaming wing of the organization partnered with iRacing and offered odds on simulated races. Simulated games of Madden NFL and other major sports titles have also proved popular.
NBA fans were not entirely starved of basketball action during this peak of the pandemic either. While they may not have been able to bet on the likes of the LA Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, they could place bets on Yulon Luxgen Dinos and Taoyuan Pauian. These latter two teams are members of the Taiwan Super Basketball League which carried on playing throughout the NBA's absence - leading to increased betting numbers.
After this initial lull, things began to get back underway from May with the German Bundesliga one of the first major sports leagues to return. This was soon followed by the English Premier League, La Liga and more. The fact that soccer was one of the first sports to return meant that many sports fans who normally place their bets on NBA games were introduced to an entirely new market.
Whether these sports betting fans who strayed into new territory during lockdown will remain loyal to their new markets remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, we are delighted that the NBA is back for good.