Sports betting drives subscriber growth at Bleacher Report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sports betting content is driving growth for Turner Broadcasting System Inc’s Bleacher Report, a popular digital sports and culture website and app, according to a report on Thursday.

Subscriptions to B/R’s betting channel have grown three times faster than all other subscriptions to its general content, B/R said in a study it released.

Subscriptions to the various channels are free but can be mined for user information. Such data was utilized for the B/R study and can provide a wealth of insight for media companies in their programming and marketing.

“We’re packaging our first-party data in a way to make it easier for people to market to their consumers,” B/R Chief Brand Officer Ed Romaine told Reuters.

For its part, B/R will use such audience information to help guide content strategy, he said.

The sports and media industries are expected to evolve in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May that allowed states to legalize, regulate and tax sports betting.

The decision sparked a rush of activity by states - eight of which now have live sports betting - and companies, leagues and others seeking to profit.

B/R announced on Feb. 7 that it would open a studio inside one of Caesars Entertainment Corp’s Las Vegas casinos, which should be ready to roll out in April.

B/R’s app has been downloaded more than 20 million times since it launched in 2011 and has nearly 5 million active monthly users, it said.

The company declined to say exactly how many users had subscribed to the different channels.

The growth of U.S. sports betting is tied to an increase in social acceptance, especially among younger people, B/R’s report found.

About 63 percent of fans between 21 and 34 years of age think wagering on sports is acceptable, compared with 51 percent of all sports fans regardless of age, the study found.

“Younger people feel comfortable with betting. They don’t think it is a taboo area of activity,” Romaine said.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Dan Grebler