Statistics show that the sports betting market was valued at $83.65 billion in 2022. The digitization of sports betting has increased its popularity 10-fold and allowed millions of bettors from across the globe to engage in this beloved tradition. Sporting events now translate to big bucks for online sportsbooks and tons of excitement for fans.
But, as with most things, some events stand above the rest when it comes to commanding crowds. While some people still use traditional bookies, a significant portion of this revenue is generated through online sports betting platforms like Betway. They are:
1. The FIFA World Cup
The world loves football and no other time is that more evident than during the FIFA World Cup. Held every 4 years in a different city, the World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world. It is also the most bet-on sport, with a global betting volume of more than $30 billion.
Even people who normally don’t bet on sports try placing a soccer bet during the tournament. FIFA reports that an estimated 3.572 billion people watched the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia and that the average betting revenue for each match was 2 billion euros. In 2022, an estimated $136 billion dollars were bet on the tournament, with the final match raking in $7.2 billion.
2. UEFA Champions League
When the World Cup ends, football fans flock to the UEFA Champions League. This is an annual club association tournament that pits top-division European teams against each other. According to the numbers, the UCL has a global betting volume of more than $13 billion. The matches happen in stages across the season so that bettors always have something to wager on.
3. The Super Bowl
America is not as big on football – or soccer as Americans call it – as they are on American football. Consequently, the biggest and most bet-on sporting event in the US is the Super Bowl. Over 100 million fans watch it every year and speculate the results. Per the American Gaming Association, in 2020, approximately $7 billion was bet on the Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers game.
A lot of the intrigue around the event also comes from the fact that you can place unique bets on things like the coin toss, national anthem, and halftime show. This helps draw in many casual bettors.
4. March Madness
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. During March Madness, fans from the US, UK, and other parts of the world “congregate” to watch and bet on NCAA Division I male basketball games. Statistics show that about $265 million was bet on the tournament in the UK in 2018 and this number was a more significant $12 billion in the US in 2019.
Match Madness is so big that it brings in more in betting revenue than the Super Bowl at over $150 billion each year.
5. Kentucky Derby
Horse racing is the oldest form of sports betting and, due to the excitement and tradition around it, it remains very popular today. The most popular and bet-on event in this realm is the Kentucky Derby. Hosted every first Saturday of May, this event draws in millions of fans and bettors. In 2019, over $250 million was bet on the event.
6. NBA Finals
While March Madness claims a larger share of the basketball betting market, the NBA Finals are a close second. The culmination of the season brings together teams that have battled it out throughout the year and the fans who have been rooting for them. According to betting statistics, this event sees bettors wager about $10 million on every game.
The NBA Finals also draw about 20 million viewers per match, making these numbers all the more impressive. In 2022, the finals were the third most bet-on event of the year even as the Golden State Warriors went up against the Boston Celtics and won.
7. The Grand National
Behind the Kentucky Derby, the Grand National is arguably the second most popular horse racing event in the world. It has been held every year since 1839 in Liverpool, England and features a tougher racecourse than the Kentucky Derby. During the Grand National hunt race, for instance, the horses and jockeys trained by the best have to go through ditches and fences.
This is perhaps why the event draws so many willing bettors. In 2021, a total of $137.4 million (100 million pounds) were wagered on the races. This was an especially lucrative year for adventurous bettors since the winner, Minella Times, was an 11-1 underdog.
8. The World Series
Baseball is widely popular in the United States and, since the country is home to one of the largest betting markets in the world, it makes sense that the World Series is a highly bet-on event. The World Series estimates that approximately $50 million in bets are made every year on the tournament.
Like with the Super Bowl, a significant portion of this revenue is earned in the World Series because sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on aspects beyond the game. This includes bets on halftime shows and prop wagers, which draw millions of casual bettors.
9. Cricket World Cup
Cricket is widely popular, especially in India where it is the most followed and watched sport. Consequently, the Cricket World Cup attracts millions of viewers and bettors. According to the Cricket governing body, the event drew in an audience of over 1.6 billion people in 2022.
An English betting platform also reported collecting 71 million pounds on the finals of the Indian Premier League alone. It is also estimated that the average cricket match between Australia, England, and India nets 50 million pounds on sports wagers alone.
10. Rugby World Cup
Rugby may not be widely popular in the United States but it enjoys a huge following in other parts of the globe. In 2019, estimates show that more than 850 million people watched the Rugby World. And while the betting revenue numbers have not been consistently compiled, rugby tournaments do bring in a significant portion of most betting platform revenues.
Sporting events are a major part of entertainment across the globe. At nearly every point in time, there is someone somewhere watching a match or following a league. And, with the legalization of online sports betting in many jurisdictions, it only makes sense that many of these fans are also bettors. Hence the huge amounts of revenue generated by these and other popular sporting events every year.