Gen Z Would Rather Bet On Reality TV? 7 Thoughts With Sparket COO Evan Fisher

The demographics of wagering are about to dramatically change. At least, that’s the major takeaway from a recent study conducted by Sparket, a unique pari-mutuel platform that focuses on social interaction and free-to-play betting pools.

There was plenty of interesting information to take away from this study, such as the fact that Gen Z is more likely to wager on reality television than traditional sporting events. conducted an exclusive interview with Sparket Chief Operating Officer Evan Fisher to discuss the demographic data and the future of the industry.

Focusing On Non-Sports Betting Markets

Evan Fisher: If you look at the sports betting ecosystem today, there’s a bunch of players coming to market with essentially the same product. There’s some differentiation, but the offerings are all very similar, they’re using the same data feeds.

And in an industry where DraftKings and FanDuel are snapping up in most states, up to 80% in market share between the two of them, and everyone else is fighting for that 20%, how do you differentiate yourself? And we believe that starts with the content and attracting a broader demographic.

As the regulation opens up, there’s more and more events being allowed. Oscars, for example, is now approaching a dozen states where it’s legal to bet on that. As these events become more popular and normalized, then we think we’ll see more betting volume on them.

The Reality TV Betting Landscape

Evan Fisher: If it’s pre-recorded, you have to obviously be very careful because you have people that are leaking some information. So for those types of shows, when we do our free-to-play Bachelorette pools, we do things that aren’t leaked beforehand like who’s going to be the first person to kiss the Bachelorette on the lips during the show?

And then of course for the livestream events like Dancing With the Stars and The Voice, you pick the winners. And people are already voting on those shows with their phones. So why not add a little bit more juice to it and be able to wager on it?

The Intersection of Betting And Viewership

Evan Fisher: You saw that happen with the NFL and fantasy sports team twenty years ago. I’ve experienced it myself. I was never interested in the Bachelorette but when we were running Bachelorette pools, I found myself watching it as we were running the pools and had customers participating in that.

Even on the free-to-play side a huge opportunity for customer engagement and driving viewership. And as we grow, we’re looking at those verticals of partnering directly with those TV distribution channels and other avenues than just sportsbooks. Because we think it has value for them on a standalone basis.

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  • 80% of the 81 respondents that haven’t wagered yet would potentially do so in the future.
  • 60% of Gen Z respondents would wager on reality television, while just 50% would bet on traditional sports.
  • 30% of sports bettors would wager on awards shows, while 20% would bet on reality television.

The Social Aspects of Betting

Evan Fisher: A lot of the offerings out there don’t emphasize that for some reason, even though that’s how sports and those alternative events are inherently consumed. Obviously we came from an era where you get a paper ticket and you’re betting against the house in the back of a sportsbook.

But even today, with most of these products beyond like a “share to Facebook” type functionality, don’t really create that atmosphere. And there are, to be fair, some other startups that are really focused on creating that experience. But I think that needs to be more of a focus to unlock the true potential of some of those events.

We have that built into the product, not just the sharing element of it but the leaderboards. So you can see how you’re doing against your friends on there. It’s simple, but we haven’t really seen much of that out there.

And then, you’re actually seeing in each bet what your friends are taking. And it’s not just a great product experience, it’s good on the business side, because we’re lowering acquisition costs for our partners.

How Free-To-Play Games Introduce Bettors To Wagering

Evan Fisher: If you go on a normal betting site, you know how to bet so you understand it. But for someone who hasn’t bet before, it’s really intimidating to see all those numbers. So we try to keep it very simple. That being said, we’re less simple than some of the other free-to-play products out there which are generally trivia or pick five.

We’re trying to find that happy medium to not turn people off, but also give them an experience that is betting socially and not just a pick ‘em challenge.

How Betting Demographics Will Shift Within Five Years

Evan Fisher: What the data shows is that most of the people who have not bet could see themselves doing so. That to me speaks to a massive opportunity for what’s a new market in the U.S. and then new submarkets in each state going live.

So I think we do start to see these underserved demographics come into the ecosystem. And as you think about a sportsbook going into a new state, they’re focused on the traditional sports, they’re focused on the male demographic, and the marketing is around that too. And they’ve kind of saturated that demographic.

So I think just based on supply and demand, we’re going to have to start to see a shift and a marketing focus in content to a demographic that’s underserved and is interested in betting, but just doesn’t have the product that appeals to them.

Interesting Takeaways From The Study

Evan Fisher: A lot of people assume incorrectly that to attract the female demographic, you need to focus only on women’s sports, or only the bachelorette or reality TV. But I don’t think it’s about that. I think it’s about marketing messages that are more appealing.


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  • 55% of female respondents could see betting real money in the future, while 22% have done so in the past.
  • 50% of the female respondents would bet on traditional sporting events, while 40% would wager on reality television and 30% would bet on awards shows.
  • 65% of total respondents that have placed a bet on traditional sporting events would do so on awards shows, reality television, or esports.


If you look at the marketing that’s out there, it’s super male-dominated. It’s about creating a product experience that’s great for everyone, including those that may not have bet before, which females predominantly fit into.

And so, I think it’s less of a content challenge and more of a marketing challenge.

Anthony Elio is the Lead Writer for, focusing on sports betting, online casino gaming, and horse racing. He covers state betting handles, sportsbook partnerships, operator news, horse racing, and NHL picks. Outside of his work with LINEUPS, Elio has also written for Daily Fantasy Cafe, Innovation & Tech Today, Krazy Coupon Lady, and Residential Tech Today.

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